Towards the end of each year the competitive set expands to include some of NZ’s biggest retailers who all compete for a share of the Christmas spend. Budgets are inflated and retailers trade off established Christmas communications platforms – Warehouse Stationery, perhaps the biggest competitor, spent $3.8M for Christmas 2013 compared to Paper Plus’s $2.1M1.
The books and stationery category was also facing big challenges, and trading conditions are getting harder and harder. With traditional bookselling being hit hard with the shift to online shopping, Paper Plus’s 2012 Christmas sales had fallen from 2011.
Paper Plus’s competitive set extends from books, stationery, gifts and cards, to the wider category of Christmas gift solutions, but all of a sudden they’re competing against pretty much every other retailer clamouring to get a share of the Christmas wallet. While it wasn’t hard to convince people they should buy these things, the difficulty was convincing them to buy them from Paper Plus.
The one category that united the whole Christmas range was wrap, so a distinctive ‘rap about wrap’ cut through the clutter and turned the declining sales trend around.
The result? Paper Plus enjoyed a dramatic 7.2% Christmas sales growth, whilst the wider market suffered a similarly dramatic decline in books and stationery sales. On top of this, Paper Plus grew market share. Sales for their core business were up 6.1%, when the wider market fell 6.2% over the same period.
1 Ratecard media spend, Adquest, June 2014