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New Year’s Projections For Last Year’s Hottest Non-Food Products

Naomi Sleeper
Naomi Sleeper

Last updated on January 8th, 2018 at 10:06 am

by Naomi Sleeper/Imperial Distributors

Identifying the staying potential of trends and fads of this past year can shed light on what products to expect (or not) in 2018. Here are reflections on some of the hottest items that dominated the non-foods business in 2017 and projections for their performance this year.

1. Fidget Spinners

Trend: Fidget spinners dominated the small-toy market this year. A simple fidgeting toy launched last year became a No. 1 seller to relieve stress and anxiety in children and adults.

2017 Product Impact: New innovations like LED light-up spinners and Bluetooth speaker spinners that play music while spinning added to the hype of this fad in 2017.

2018 Projection: The craze of this inexpensive toy was so big this past spring that the fad has run its course. Interest in the fidget spinner looks like a bell curve peaking in May 2017. While the LED and Bluetooth variations made fun stocking stuffers this past holiday season, we expect this fad to peter out this year.

2. Slime

Trend: DIY slime (typically made of glue, water and borax) became an Instagram and YouTube obsession in 2017. Tweens even began selling their homemade creations online and bringing in big bucks through YouTube sponsorships. Slime videos have even been credited with enhancing relaxation among viewers.

2017 Product Impact: This DIY trend led to surges in sales of one of slime’s primary ingredients, Elmer’s school glue, even leading to glue shortages in spring/summer 2017. New product launches responding to the trend include various “Elmer’s Slime Kits” containing glitter glue for slime of all occasions as well as pre-made slime by companies like Crayola.

2018 Projection: While this fad appears to have peaked in summer 2017, interest rose again during this past holiday season. New slime products will keep the trend relevant in 2018 but likely with less steam compared to the craze of this past year.

3. Journaling

Trend: While science and health publications have been boasting the mental and physical benefits of journaling for years, several mainstream lifestyle and news articles published last year (e.g., NBC, NY Magazine, Life Hack) point to growing recognition and interest in this practice for increasing organization, expressing creativity and relieving stress. According to Google trends, the search terms “journaling” and “bullet journal” grew significantly this year with spikes in early January 2017.

2017 Product Impact: The market is responding to the growing practice with a broad assortment of dated fashion journals and colored inks as well as calligraphy and other hand-lettering kits populating stationery departments.

2018 Projection: We anticipate another spike in the interest of journaling in January 2018 as a popular New Year’s resolution. Given the growing body of scientific research supporting the benefits of journaling as well as climbing interest in specific types of therapeutic journals like “gratitude journals” in recent months, we expect this trend and sales of its associated products in the stationery department to continue to grow in 2018.

4. Iridescent and Metallic Housewares

Trend: Iridescence made a splash in home décor this year and represented a new trend at the 2017 International Home and Housewares show. From electroplated barware and flatware to opalescent glassware, the bold color trend (reminiscent of oily stickers from the ’80s) has been popping up throughout home and housewares this past year.

2017 Product Impact: Several brands (e.g., True Mirage and Pinky Up) came out with new lines of iridescent bar tools, mugs, hydration bottles and bowls to spice up housewares sections.

2018 Projection: Electroplating and pearly aesthetics have been on the rise over the last several months. We expect this trend to continue to climb in 2018.

5. Natural & Organic Serums

Trend: Natural and organic skincare have been on the rise for the past several years as consumers have become more tuned into the quality and safety of ingredients. Many natural skincare products have become mainstream over the past few years. Face serums, increasingly recognized for skin benefits due to their concentrated ingredients and composition, also have been growing steadily over the past few years.

2017 Product Impact: 2017 brought a broader selection of natural and organic face serums, such as vitamin C serums and snail serums, across many brands. As a result, legacy products like the vitamin C serums have been declining in price due to increased competition, leaving higher prices to the newer niche serums.

2018 Projection: Natural face serums are projected to grow further in 2018 with potentially a more streamlined assortment of winning players determined by the market.

6. Dry Shampoo

Trend: In the name of convenience and healthy hair, dry shampoo has made resurgence. Unlike the residue-leaving dry shampoos of the ’70s, the quality ingredients and high performance of this year’s dry shampoos have make this item a beauty staple for many.

2017 Product Impact: Newer brands like Not Your Mothers and Batiste have created a strong assortment of this product while conventional haircare brands like Dove and Suave also launched dry shampoo lines in 2017.

2018 Projection: We see this product growing significantly in 2018. Legacy haircare brands plan to play big in the dry shampoo category with new lines launching this year.

7. Single-Use Face Masks

Trend: In line with trends favoring convenience and safe, natural ingredients, single-use face masks grew in popularity this year. Sheet, mud and clay masks are growing in popularity for their intense beauty-boosting benefits. Proponents of single-use masks cite the increased hygiene and effectiveness of the one-shot variety.

2017 Product Impact: New products like the Korean sheet mask along with single-use cream mask pods emerged in the mainstream U.S. market in 2017. Legacy brands like Maybelline, Neutrogena and L’Oreal also introduced single-use face masks this past year.

2018 Projection: We expect continued growth of single-use face masks next year. New brands continue to emerge, and existing brands, like Olay, are scheduled to launch new products in this category this year. Ubiquitous offerings across brands will likely drive broader usage and price points.

8. Protein Bars

Trend: The muscle-building health benefits of protein, influencing nutritional trends over the last several years, made a big impact on the nutrition bar segment this year. Google trends shows the search terms “protein,” “protein powder” and “protein bar” climbing every year this decade, and 2017 was no exception.

2017 Product Impact: The growing popularity of this macronutrient affected product development in the nutrition bar category this year. Kind, Clif and Power Bar all came out with protein bars in 2017 to bring protein to a broader mainstream consumer base.

2018 Projection: The steady increase in popularity of protein bars points to its continued growth in 2018. We expect to see increased inclusion of alternative sources of protein (like pea and cricket protein, perhaps?) in nutrition bars in the coming year.

9. EPA/DHA Omega 3 Supplements

Trend: As advances in neuroscience bridge nutrition and brain functioning, consumers have shown a growing interest in food and supplements that support mental and cognitive health. Studies indicating both mental and physical health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids as a “superfood” have led to increased interest in omega-3s as nutritional supplements.

2017 Product Impact: While EPA/DHA Omega-3 supplements have been on the market for a long time, these supplements have continued to climb in 2017 not only for humans but also for pets. The nourishing benefits of omega-3 fatty acids to skin and hair has led to new personal care products featuring the nutrients.

2018 Projection: We expect to see continued growth of EPA/DHA Omega-3 supplements this year not only in dietary supplements but also personal care products as well.

10. Smart Devices

Trend: The Internet of Things is making information and analytics more accessible than ever. From smart wearables to smart refrigerators, smart mobile and home devices are providing personalized data and convenience to consumers.

2017 Product Impact: The release of smaller, lower-cost personal assistants (e.g., Google Mini, Amazon Echo) have made smart home devices more accessible to the masses. They have started making their way into grocery stores (at least one, in particular).

2018 Projection: As the Internet of Things continues to grow and smart devices diversify in brand and price, we expect to see wider-spread presence of smart products in supermarkets in 2018.

The hottest items of this past year speak to consumers’ interests in products that enhance mental and physical health, relaxation, focus and convenience. These trends shed light on products to look out for this year—for a happy and healthy 2018!

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