Jul 22, 2013
A Bright Future
Abby Heugel, Managing Editor

Success is up in the air

When it comes to the outlook for balloons in 2014, the future is up in the air and looking quite bright – literally. The helium situation that has plagued the industry for the past couple of years seems to be leveling out, but more importantly, it spurred a flurry of creative and innovate air-filled options from manufacturers and retailers alike.

With those creative air-filled options comes bright and bold colors that draw customers in, and a variety of on-trend patterns, themes and designs will find their way into bouquets, decor and hopefully out your store door.

PPR: What is your forecast for 2014?

Lisa Bennett

Pioneer Balloon Co.

It’s looking to be a strong year for innovative selling solutions and using different balloon techniques to build business. The helium supply concerns have been a challenge for everyone in the industry over the last year, but we are confident that we can help our customers be profitable with education and classes that focus on creative, air-fill designs for retailers.

Heather Moseley

Anagram

With new overseas supplies of helium coming on line mid-2013, there should be more helium available for balloon retailers here in the States by 2014. And even though prices are expected to remain where they are at and not return to previous levels, a stable supply should result in increased sales of balloons at retail.

PPR: What themes can we expect?

Maureen Day

Betallic

Mustaches and chalkboard! We’ve capitalized on these looks with some fun new air-filled Mini Shapes that are perfect for photo booths (another big trend) with a mustache, speech bubble and arrow that can all be personalized with a quick wit and a permanent marker.

The chalkboard look is used not only on numerous products, but used in marketing campaigns and from Michael’s Crafts to Subway sandwiches. We’ve added this nostalgic look to our balloons in combination with our holographic film.

Bennett

Blending bright colors and bold patterns together has been a vibrant new theme that works well in fashion, as well as celebrations. The traditional zebra pattern blended with fuchsia has really made celebrations pop in everything from birthdays to girls’ night out to graduation, but 2014 will get even wilder with other animal prints and bright citrus color combinations.

Our latest balloon and ribbon designs include the up-and-coming cheetah and leopard patterns with vivid color accents, and even combinations of animal prints and colors together in the same vibrant design for a fun, bold statement.

We are also seeing other geometric shapes, chevrons, harlequin and argyle patterns used in many new palettes and designs.

Moseley

Helium is still top of mind to retailers, so helium savings will be a theme into 2014. Anagram launched Helium Savers in 2012. These balloons are only 5 percent smaller but offer 20 percent helium savings per balloon. We’ve since launched Helium Savers Petites, which float in elevations up to 3,000 feet, and Helium Savers Jumbos and Helium Saver Numbers.

PPR: What are the popular colors?

Bennett

In general, all shades of blue are expected to take prominence and will be followed by the ever-popular bright acidic colors of green, yellow and shades of orange. The Trends Council also predicts a palette of pumped-up sorbet tones, which will do well for “life moment” celebrations like weddings and showers. These include acid green, aquamarine, Gerber Daisy pink, melon, coral and wisteria.

A new trend we’ve seen reported in the party industry and one that’s emerging into the wedding scene is creating an “ombre” palette consisting of shades of the same color. For example, several shades of blue might suggest an ocean or summer beach theme.

Wedding colors will feature these sorbet colors and combinations of these colors, as well as continuing to follow the soft tints of vintage romance, or the striking palette of white and black (alone or with a single, bold accent color).

Day

Intensely bright colors are still strong in fashion and beyond. As evidenced by the tremendous response to our new Mighty Bright line, we continue to add new to this continuing color trend.

Patti Paolella

Anagram

Luxe palettes – think metallics plus muted earth tones or paired with bold, brash accents; lace/openwork; sparkle and smaller, detailed shapes. We’re also addressing the trend towards neon/bright colors with our new Colorblast line – a vibrant color palette done on white film to get the cleanest, brightest hues in the marketplace.

PPR: What licenses will be hot?

Bennett

A few highlights to watch for: Dragons are back with DreamWorks animated television program “Dragons: Riders of Berk” and new theatrical summer release of “Dragons 2”; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles expects to have a great year with the expanding TV coverage and their live-action film also coming to theaters in summer 2014; Disney’s “Sofia the First” and “Doc McStuffins” each launched their new respective series with strong ratings. Expanded content is already scheduled, so we expect to see them grow in popularity to be big birthday sellers in 2014.

Moseley

What we see for late 2013 is that it is the year for great, animated films such as Disney’s “Monster University,” “Planes” and “Frozen.” For 2014, there are the movies “Fairy Pirate” (working title), “The Good Dinosaur” and the “Planes” sequel, “Fire And Rescue.” When it comes to superheroes, look for “Amazing Spider-Man 2” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

PPR: Do you have display and merchandising suggestions?

Annie Escalera

Northstar Balloons

Be creative. String together air-filled letters, dangle shapes from the ceiling, cup and stick an 18-inch balloon, etc., and don’t just tape balloons up to make balloon walls – balloons are meant to fly freely! Create a scene. Set up a party table using products for sale in store to give shoppers ideas.

Stephen Swartz

U.S. Balloon Co.

Retailers should display their decor pieces like columns and centerpieces so customers know what’s available. Photos don’t really give decor pieces any justice so displaying them throughout your store can be more visually appealing and gives customers a better idea of what they’re getting.

Mark Harbert

Anagram

For party stores, balloon walls are one of the most important points of merchandising balloons because they actually get the product out in front of your customer to see and allow the retailer to showcase the higher priced, better value, supershapes to their customers.

Promote pre-packaged bouquets that coordinate with party goods is an excellent way of increasing sales. While a customer is picking out their themed party goods, a pre-packaged balloon bouquet merchandised in-line assists the customer with a pre-planned selection of balloons that coordinate perfectly for their party.

PPR: What is one “must-have” thing for retailers in 2014?

Steve Rose

burton + BURTON

We still recommend equipment for doing air-fill balloons – air-inflators, cups and sticks and Hi-Float. The temporary shortage of helium supply taught us all that we can be better stewards of the resource and use more air-filled solutions without sacrificing the look of the design.

Swartz

The new M&M AirWalker Balloon Buddies! These hilarious figures have been a part of the candy’s advertising for years, and now they’re finally balloons. And with the Furby toy making a comeback, I wouldn’t be surprised if the fad carries over into kids’ birthday parties.

Escalera

DecoLinks – perfect for parties, sporting events, schools, festivals, and more!


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