Just prior to the referendum a couple of customers asked me what sort of effect it could have on our market place. Hence, I thought it opportune to express my opinion of the major effects on the Party & Costume market. Obviously, these are only my views so I shall try and keep to the basics and not get muddled in the devious and very inexact role of politics and personal emotions.
Hence , this is perspective of the short, medium and long term effects .
In practical terms nothing has changed yet We are still in the EU. However, there are two immediate influencing factors.
Sentiment has a major impact on all markets. There maybe a change in the consumers concerns about the future and reign in spending. The party market has a good record in depressions, in that it can intially buck the trend as people party to cheer themselves up. Eventually though it will effect the consumer spend within our market place
There will be huge swings in currencies and if they are ‘down’ swings , we will have price increases . 95% of the party product bought and sold in the UK comes from outside the UK (I am struggling to think of even 5% that is made in the UK)
The upside is everybody will be in the same boat, but it will put pressure on the consumer spend. There is the slight possibility itmay discourage consumers purchasing from far eastern web sites or even looking.
We will still be in the EU. Currency will still play a part , but the fluctuations may have eased off. As we will be in the process of negatioting our exit, traders may start to ignore EU (not your regular suppliers) regs and import product that does not conform to anything and consequentially ,be a lot cheaper but potentially of poorer quality.
Demand may have flattened because of continuing uncertainty and a lack of growth.
We will have negotiated exit terms. No idea about currency levels, nor demand, nor consumer sentiment. However, in terms of importing this could be very complex. We may have negotiated a free trade agreement with the EU. But at that point we, probably, will not have negotiated agreements with other parts of the world ie the far east, or the USA, for starters. Will major players, such as Rubies, Amscan, Unique , Pioneer et al relocate to the EU and then reexport to the UK ? The possibilities are mind boggling .
In terms of product standards major (UK)suppliers will still comply as they want to ship into the EU, however , we won’t have any input into those standards. EU suppliers will conform to the standards , consequently still supplying into the UK , as we will not have an alternative set of standards, certainly not by then if ever.
Online operators will start to find it is a lot more complex supplying consumers in the EU. Obviously the reverse will be true but I suspect there is more trade going out from UK web sites rather than vice versa.
Oh yes, here’s another thought. When we are no longer in the EU , UK suppliers that wish to conform to any new norms or regs, will probably have to get these comp,ex documents translated as they probably will no longer be in English.
The reality is that it is all hypothesis , as we have no idea what and when the future holds. The only thing we can be sure of is that it will be very different. Good or bad, only time will tell.
There are so many interwoven layers with that have to be ‘unweaved’ and then rewoven , that for any person or body to forecast that this or that is going to happen, they would have to be barking mad. But then that was true prior to last Thursday.
I think there will be many pages to turn in this story, before we have even the slightest idea as to the consequences . As an industry, we have always been quite good at adapting. Here , the adapting needed maybe somewhat more testing.