Shifting consumer trends continue to shape the future of the tabletop industry, and Pampa Bay has grown its 2018 product assortment with those trends in mind. The company has also set its sights firmly on the independent retail channel, which will be uniquely qualified to adapt to those shifts, company president, Carlos Barbagallo, told GOURMET INSIDER®.
According to Barbagallo, today’s consumer, particularly the younger consumer, no longer shops for forever products. Instead, consumers look to quality items at affordable prices to use until the next trend hits.
“Young consumers are not looking for expensive china that they’ll have forever. They want something they may use a few times and then turn to something new. And they want new things more often than in the past, new designs and finishes, and that’s going to be one of the big changes for the next two to four years,” he said.
The younger generations are also demanding products that demonstrate luxury but tout easy maintenance and affordability. In addition, consumers are broadening their design tastes, and looking to accessories to fulfill that preference.
“There is an awful lot of white out there. Consumers are looking for pops of color and unusual shapes, out of the ordinary things that will accent what is otherwise a minimalist table setting,” said Alan Buff, marketing director, Pampa Bay.
In order to support these trends, the company launched a variety of new collections for 2018, totaling over 80 new products, which feature a proprietary technology that gives the company’s tabletop designs a metallic look without the upkeep. The line is comprised of high-fired ceramic and glass dinnerware, serveware and accessories in silver, gold and bronze titanium finishes.
“Our product looks like luxury, classic metal, but is dishwasher safe and doesn’t stain, tarnish or scratch. So it fits a consumer’s lifestyle today and yet it enables them to dress a table elegantly,” Buff noted.
Shifting consumer trends not only affect product, Barbagallo said. The retail landscape also has to evolve with changing consumer habits, and the independent channel, he said, is more apt to that evolution. With consumers demanding new product at a faster rate, for example, he noted that the independent retailer is more flexible and able to “adjust much faster to new product and new trends than the larger stores.”
The demand for experiential shopping has also shifted the dynamic of the industry, and independent retailers are able to offer that experience through high-level customer service and curated assortments.
“We’re looking for that experiential relationship between the retailer and the consumer,” Buff said. “And the retailer is looking for a product with a story to tell because they are looking for ways to engage their customers. Our product has that really cool story to tell.”
In order to further bolster that experiential shopping within the channel, Buff noted that independent retailers have to convey their own unique point of view.
“They have to make a design statement that is true to them so when the consumer walks in the door they get a sense of that statement. That is a risky thing to do because either the consumer is going to react positively or negatively to that point of view. But the successful retailer is able to express it in their display and product assortment,” said Buff.
He added that the company’s current approach to product development securely fits within that retail approach. “The need for new and the need for fashionable, different and affordable is accelerating, and we’re trying to keep pace with that and provide retailers with enough variation and enough new product that they can find something within our line that fits within their point of view,” he said.
The company’s new collections include the Salerno, Verona, Gourmet Platters, Let’s Entertain, Royal Living, Monaco, Gold Salerno, Millennium and Hammered high-fired porcelain collections and the When Glass Meets Titanium collection. Each collection features its own titanium coating design and a variety of SKU’s, with prices ranging from $20 to $100. The company will have its new product line on display at the 2018 winter markets.