Study Highlights Generational Differences in Shopping

Is Gen-Z in a Class by Itself?

Who is the target customer for your store by generation? The US population is usually broken down into “The Greatest Generation” (born before 1946), “Baby Boomers” (born 1946-1964), “Gen-X” (1965-1980), Millenials (1981-1996) and “Gen-Z” (1997-2012). A recent study by Whop shows how different Gen-Z shoppers are. Or are they?

Whop is a marketplace for internet products serving entreprenuers who want to sell online. Their study looked at generational differences in shopping habits and declares Gen-Z to be unlike any other group.

“Our survey shows that Gen-Z is unlike any other generation out there. They represent a vast — and growing — portion of purchasing power,” says Cameron Zoub, co-founder at Whop, “but they’re also unique in their spending habits, their aspirations and goals, and how they consume digital content.”

Tech Is Key

Some of the biggest differences in the generations have to do with where they spend time online. Gen-Z prefers Tik Tok and Instagram, with Facebook a distant third, whereas as the generations get older, Facebook is predominant. It should be pointed out that Gen-Z is the only generation that had social media when they were growing up. So the group your store targets should determine what social platform you focus on for advertising and promotion. The rise of also happened during the formative years of Gen-Z.

Speaking of, there were differences in online shopping platforms preferred. For Gen-Z, was first, followed by, then, but the older the generation, the greater the preference for, so for Baby Boomers that order is reversed.

“Influencers?” Not So Much

One surprising data point from the survey was that, while one would expect “Influencers” to be important to Gen-Z, less than 20% of Gen-Zers said Influencers “influenced” their purchasing decisions, and that was only for those making $100,000 per year or more.

And continuing the theme of income levels, the study asked whether the respondents would rather make $200,000 per year working for a company or $100,000 as an entreprenuer. 61% of Gen-Zers preferred working for a company with a higher salary to owning their own business, whereas 54% of Gen-Xers said they’d prefer to be their own bosses. Though the study doesn’t say, it’s easy to see that Gen-Xers may have spent more time in a corporate job and the entreprenuerial bug would have had more time to bite.

What to do When You Win the Lottery

Survey respondents were asked what they would do with the money should they receive a $50,000 windfall. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that Gen-Z is less likely than other generations to say they would invest for retirement and more likely to invest in high-risk options like crypto-currency or collectibles. Just 15% of Gen-Z said they would invest in a 401K or IRA compared to 26% of Gen-X, but logic suggests those numbers will probably change as Gen-Zers get older.

CJ Bella Company Updates Website

CJ Bella Company has updated its wholesale, CAMEO EZ© B2B website. Since launching, the company has evolved from only one jewelry line to a lifestyle company which offers products that include decorated Tabletop Coasters, Car Coasters, 100% Cotton Flour Sack Towels, Eco Friendly Dishcloths, Notepads, and More! All are proudly designed and printed in the USA. They featurein-house designs as well as the licensed artwork of both local and national artists. CJ Bella also offers its fashionable Classic Stackin’ Stones Bracelets©.

Trends in Retail for 2024

Taking the Bad with the Good

Predicting the future is hard, and that’s never more true than in a presidential election year. While not everyone focuses on politics, it does affect the stock market and all the business activity that descends from it.

A recent article by details 7 retail trends to watch in 2024.

Trouble on the Horizon? It Depends…
About 20 large retailers were forced into bankruptcy in 2023, the largest being Bed, Bath and Beyond, which was subsequently acquired by, which should be able to remedy the weak online presence of the well-loved retailer.

One good thing is that the market has reached equilibrium after the upheaval of the pandemic shutdowns and supply train disruptions, but consumers are still adjusting to the impact of inflation. Add to that soaring credit card balances and increased delinquencies and you have a recipe for a tightening market. Consumers continue to spend cautiously on nonessentials.

Trying New Things
Advancements in technology, including artificial intelligence (AI) and experiments with new store formats made some prognosticators optimistic.

Dealing With Crime
Changes in policy among big-city prosecutors has led to a growing crime problem, which we have addressed before. Retailers are faced with finding their own solutions where politicians are unwilling to act.

Revolving Doors in the C-Suite
Big retailers have been seeing departures in upper management when boards have sought to improve stock prices and profitability. Bloomingdale’s, Kohl’s, Levi’s and Costco have all replaced CEOs (or will soon). Changes have also affected CFO, CIO, COO and president at many big retailers.

Cost Cutting
Layoffs are increasing as retailers work to cut costs and streamline their operations. This could be good for small retailers, as the available talent pool of experienced retail workers may grow.

“We’re also seeing layoffs stemming from the closures of brick and mortar that are struggling either financially or with other issues such as theft.” says Catherine Lepard, global managing partner of retail and direct to consumer at Heidrick & Struggles. “Outside of the fiscal drivers, layoffs have recently been the result of retailers rethinking their larger business strategy — right-sizing their footprints to align with consumer behaviors shifting from physical to online shopping.”


Holiday Retail Sales “Okay” But Failed to Reach Expectations

The 3.1% increase for holiday shopping year-over-year was less than the predicted 3.7% according to Forbes. The National Retail Federation (NRF) and Mastercard had predicted the 3.7% number.

As has been the case for several years, online spending growth (6.3%) outpaced in-store growth (2.2%), even though in-store is still a larger portion of total retail sales, according to Mastercard’s SpendingPulse survey, which does not include automobile and gasoline purchases.


Clothing was the largest sector for holiday spending, with a 2.4% increase year-over-year.

Americans also spent more on food this year, with restaurant spending up 7.8% and grocery spending up 2.1% compared to 2022.

Mastercard’s predictions overestimated total retails sales, but underestimated restaurant spending.

Black Friday to Super Saturday

U.S. shoppers spent $38 billion during the five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, according to Adobe Analytics. Adobe’s report shows consumers spending $12.4 billion on Cyber Monday, an increase of 9.6%.

Because “Super Saturday” (the last Saturday before Christmas) fell on the day before Chrismas Eve, sales on that day rivaled Black Friday. According to, Super Saturday’s grocery sales were stronger than “Turkey Wednesday” (the day before Thanksgiving).

CAMEO EZ Vendors “Show” Up

Semi-annual Trade Show Issue

It's Show Time.
Twice a year we look at the show season

Beginning during the COVID pandemic, when the trade shows were forced to suspend in-person events, OmegaNet Inc., publisher of this newsletter, began a semi-annual “Virtual” trade show at OmegaNet clients, whose sites are built on the CAMEO EZ© platform, provided short videos which enabled retailers to get a taste of what they would have seen at the shows.

OmegaNet has continued the “Virtual” trade show, since nobody can go to all the shows, and there are vendors retailers might otherwise miss. In this semi-annual trade show issue, we will feature some of the CAMEO EZ vendors on, what they offer and where they will be showing.

Ala Carte Alice

Ala Carte Alice logoDallas and Atlanta have two of the largest shows, and gourmet food vendor Ala Carte Alice will be there. Dallas: Jan. 10-16; Atlanta (Bldg. 2 Floor 8, Jan. 16-22). Products include savory sauces, red dog rubs, glazes, relishes and jams, plus yummy cheese balls, mouth watering desserts, party dips and awesome entrees.

Billy Joe Homewares

Unique and decorative kitchen sink strainers and kitchen sink stoppers, Billy Joe Homewares is offering a Winter Trade Show Special on website orders: Get Free Shipping on orders of $325 or more using coupon code “FreeShip325” at checkout.

Cin Chili & Company

Cindy Reed Wilkins, aka The Chili Queen, is a legend in the chili community. Cindy has won over 100 total awards, an extraordinary 15 first-place, in the world of championship red chili. Cin Chili will be at the Biloxi Wholesale Market Jan. 27-29.

CJ Bellaco

Through our various brands, CJ Bella Company creates gift and fashion items that are fun, trendy, affordable, and most importantly designed to help you boost your bottom line. They can be seen in Atlanta (Bldg. 3 Floor 5 #407) and Las Vegas (#E-1030). Show Special: 15% freight cap on all orders placed at the shows.

Dutch House Caramels

Another gourmet vendor, Dutch House Caramels, will be in Dallas (12-1420), Atlanta (Temps bldg 3, fl. 5, 103), Las Vegas (E934) and Minneapolis (200-3). The company features caramels in a variety of assortments and gift boxes.

Fancy That Gift & Decor

Since 2003, Steve and Carmen Mendelson, owners of Fancy That Gift & Decor, have traveled the world in search of unique products to complement our best-selling Coastal, Lake, Garden & Seasonal Collections. See their lines this year in Atlanta, Orlando, Panama City, Ocean City, Gatlinburg and Myrtle Beach.

Gina B Designs

Award-winning designer of greeting cards, stationery and gift products Gina B Designs will be in Dallas (Cathy & Co.) and Seattle (Cards and Gifts NW).

Regina’s Farm Kitchen

Small-batch artisan fruit spreads from Regina’s Farm Kitchen are made with only real fruit, no preservatives, artificial sweeteners or thickeners. Taste them in Jan., March and June in Dallas (WTC, Floor 7) and in Jan. and July in Atlanta (Bldg2, Floor 3 #525).


With over 2 dozen categories and 2,500 skus, Spoontiques is sure to have any program you’re looking for. The company offers comprehensive collection,s including Home Décor, Kitchen/Tabletop, Accessories, Lawn & Garden and Seasonal programs. Spoontiques will be in Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, Toronto and Philadelphia.

Studio B Inc.

Studio B, your place for 1,000’s of unique licensed posters, art, stickers & collector pins, isn’t showing at trade shows but is offering a Show Special anyway: Mention “OmegaNet” at checkout and receive 10% off your first order.

Sunset Vista Designs

Sunset Vista Designs offers extra margin opportunities with innovative designs, proven products, space-saving merchandising solutions, and attractive package deals that all add value to our quality products. They will show at Dallas, Atlanta, Minneapolis and Las Vegas. Don’t miss their 2024 Holiday Catalog Special.

“That’s (Not) All, Folks!”

Many other CAMEO EZ vendors are featured in the Virtual Trade Show and other CAMEO EZ vendors not shown here may be at the shows. You can see a list of most trade shows at and a complete list of CAMEO EZ vendors in the CAMEO EZ Directory.

Holiday Shoppers Predicted to Spend More this Season

But They Will Be Looking for “Deals”

The National Retail Federation (NFR) is predicting 3%-to-4% growth in consumer spending during 2023’s holiday shopping season. NFR forecasts that consumer will spend $957 billion which would be as much as $30 billion more than last year, but economic factors also come into play.

Cheerful young woman with colorful shopping bags having fun in the city street at Christmas time.
Predictions are for a good holiday shopping season. Photo

While that sounds good and in line with what was seen before the pandemic, that increase is far less than what was seen during 2021 and 2022, which saw spikes of 5.4% and 14.1%, respectively, which followed an 8.2% growth in 2020. So this year will be more “normal,” rather than the “boom” years druing and immediately following the pandemic.

Consumers Are Resilient

“In spite of the uncertainty in the economy and the challenges that households are facing, we’ve seen strength and resilience across the consumer sector,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a recent press conference announcing the results of NFR’s holiday forecast.

Last year’s prediction had to be revised downward. NFR had forecast 6%-to-8% growth, but the reality was 5.4%.

Looking for Deals

CNBC noted that, even though inflation is cooling, many gift-giving items and food cost more. As of September, inflation is up 3.7% compared with a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s consumer price index. That is about half the 7% inflation rate of 2021, which was the highest in 40 years. CNBC also expects consumers to be cost-conscious and looking for bargain because of economic concerns.

One factor fueling the preference for bargains is greatly increased credit card balances. According to CNN, during the third quarter, credit card balances hit a fresh high of $1.08 trillion. This represents a rise of $48 billion from the prior quarter and a record increase of $154 billion from the year before, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit released Tuesday, Nov. 7. Higher interest rates, which the Fed is using to tamp down inflation, make this problem worse for consumers.

Mall Optimism

ICSC, the trade group representing malls, shopping centers, and other marketplaces, predicted last month that holiday retail sales will be up 3.8%, with food and beverage sales up 7.6%.

Gift cards were mentioned by those surveyed as the most popular gift, with 55% saying they would like to receive them, followed by clothing and accessories (49%), books, video games and other media (28%), and personal care and beauty items (25%).

NRF’s latest consumer survey was conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Back-to-school Shopping Expected to Break Records

Brick-and-mortar Stores Preferred by Shoppers

Predictions are that USA parents will spend a record-breaking $41.5 billion on back-to-school supplies this year, a 12% increase over last year, and brick-and-mortar stores are preferred over online shopping.

The National Retail Federation (NFR) predicts back-to-college spending to increase even more – $20 billion to a record $94 billion, driven by high-end electronics and dorm furnishings.

Back-to-school Supplies
Image: Envato Elements

The NRF bases its back-to-school forecast on the consumer survey it has been conducting annually with Prosper Insights and Analytics over the past two decades. This year’s survey included close to 8,000 consumers and was conducted between June 30 and July 6.

“Charge it!”

Motley Fool Ascent survey found that 30% of parents will use credit cards for all or some of their shopping and the average they expect to spend is $895, with clothing and electronics being the most expensive categories. The Motley Fool Ascent distributed a survey via Pollfish on July 17, 2023 to 2,000 American adults with one or more children. Survey results were post-stratified to generate a nationally representative sample for gender and age.

The survey also found that 47% of shopping will be based on lists schools provide to retailers.

Indications are that Americans’ concern about inflation has lessened compared to last year, according to Forbes magazine. “Consumers are adjusting to inflation by comparison shopping for deals, or trying lower-priced brands, but are not shifting to discount stores in the numbers they did during the 2008 recession,” according to Katherine Cullen, the NRF’s vice president of industry and consumer insights.

On the other hand, some parents started their shopping early, looking for good deals.

In-store Preferred

Unlike holiday shopping, back-to-school purchases tend to be times when parents seek out an in-store experience where their children can see multiple options and participate in choosing their own backpack, lunch box, or first-day-of-class outfit. And when those shoppers are in stores, impulse purchases become more likely.

OmegaNet Launches New Gourmet Portal becomes the newest member of the family of wholesale portals which includes OmegaNet Inc., publisher of this newsletter, began 25 years ago by launching, a portal devoted to connecting retailers to wholesale product sources. Since then, five other portals have joined the family, listing real wholesale product sources. Portals include, and now,

All the Summer Trade Shows*

Semi-Annual Trade Show Special Issue

Once again, “It’s Showtime.” Twice every year, this newsletter features the Gift & Home trade shows during the winter and summer seasons. There are shows all year ’round, but winter and summer is when the large markets have major shows. In this issue we *attempt to list all the shows during the three summer months. Refer to’s Trade Shows page for information about the wide variety of current and upcoming shows. (Be sure to refer to the show promoters’ websites and/or email them for specific information. OmegaNet, publisher of this newsletter, is not associated with any trade show and cannot be responsible for typographical errors or changes in the schedule made by the many different promoters of the shows.)

Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (June 21-27) starts very soon. Dallas Market Center President and CEO, Cindy Morris said, “The first show of the summer means the first opportunity for retailers and designers to discover new products and place orders. It’s critically important for buyers to be here first for the new collections, one-of-a-kind pieces and top sellers.”

The Atrium at Dallas Market CenterThe Atrium at Dallas Market Center

Dozens of new and expanding permanent showrooms will debut across the marketplace and a reimagined Temps show is set to be the largest Dallas exhibition in more than 10 years. Included in the Dallas show is Lightovation and KidsWorld markets and following on June 27 is the Apparel and Accessories Market.

Between the two Dallas shows, New York’s Javits Convention Center hosts the Fancy Food Show.

Cooking Demonstration at Atlanta MarketCooking Demonstration at Atlanta Market

Gourmet Delights

Speaking of food, the next big show is Atlanta Market (July 11-17), which will include Gourmet Education and Exploration.

“Atlanta Market is a top spot for all things gourmet – with a full range of gift-oriented housewares, tabletop and specialty foods, complemented by top chefs making signature dishes in the interactive JURA Gourmet Demonstration Kitchen,” said Karen Olson, IMC executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “IMC’s continued partnership with GC Buying Group also offers Atlanta Market buyers and sellers an exclusive opportunity to source, learn and network with an even wider range of industry leaders through GCX:Connect.”

Beginning the same day as the Atlanta Market, the Asia America Trade Show commences in Miami (July 11-13) and rounding out the month of July are Seattle Market Week (24-28), Minneapolis Gift Show (28-Aug. 1), Bluegrass Buyers Market (30-31) and LA Kids (30-Aug. 2). So whatever part of the country you are in or whatever product types you are looking for, opportunities abound.

But That’s Not All…

Did you think we were finished with the last week of July? Not by a long shot:


The Las Vegas Market this year will offer more than 30 presentations, webinars, tours, seminars, awards ceremonies and other special evens, including 12 CEU-eligible courses, available before and during the summer show. August in Las Vegas is very busy:

…there’s still more

In the interest of completeness, dates in August include:

Whew! And that may not even be all. Promoters launch new trade shows from time to time. If you know of shows which should be included in the list at, email us.

Pricing and Profit Margins in a Changing Retail Environment

Profit margins can be tight for small retailers, what with expenses like retail leases, employees, advertising and taxes, let alone the cost of goods sold. While “Keystoning” (setting prices at double the product wholesale cost) has been a rule of thumb in retail, other factors including what the market will bear, may impact your prices. The need to maintain profit margins is often at odds with downward pressure exerted on prices by the big-box chains, online retailers, etc.

There are multiple strategies for setting retail prices. A recent Intelligence Node article lists seven pricing strategies. We will look at a few of them here.

Cutting prices and price tagsPhoto by Ron Lach

Keeping It Simple

While some retail categories, like apparel and jewelry, have higher standard markups, “keystoning” is the starting point for most small, independent retailers. It keeps things simple, since you just double the wholesale price you paid for the product. Of course, there are other overhead expenses which must come out of that doubling of the product cost. Some experts are recommending increasing the markup percentageThis would continue a trend that has been going on for a while; there is no pricing strategy that is etched in stone, after all, unless you are in a franchise situation where the franchisor sets the prices.

And that is another pricing strategy – MSRP – or just using the “Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price.” Again, it keeps things simple, but it may not be the most effective approach.

According to Tom Ungrodt, former President and Chief Executive Officer of Ideation, Inc., “A good example of this can be found in the apparel industry. Years ago they started at a 33 percent markup, but over the years this has grown to an 80 percent markup (the equivalent of five times product cost). We should be following this same pattern in the gift industry.” The market will bear some increase, he says. “Moving a store from 53 percent Cost of Sales to 48 percent would add thousands of dollars to the bottom line overnight, with all other variables remaining the same.”

In other words, if your hard product cost is 53 percent of the price, increase the price enough to make your cost 48 percent of the price and you’ve got an instant five percent increase in profit. Price increases don’t even have to be noticable. If you are selling a discounted item, going to .49 or .99 rather than the even number above or below is found to be best.

Discount Pricing

The temptation can be strong to see what others are charging and undercut them slightly to drive sales, but if your competitor does the same thing, it can result in a “race to the bottom,” where successive price cuts make profit less likely. An alternative is “Loss-leading Pricing,” where you select a product or a few products to have an attractive price to get traffic, but you don’t reduce the prices of everything in your store. That way, people are drawn by the loss leader and may buy other things while they are in your store.

Below or Above?

Examples of BELOW pricing, like “Discount Pricing” and “Loss-leading Pricing,” were discussed above, but an equally valid strategy is to price ABOVE the competition to represent your products and buying experience as more luxurious and exclusive. There is definitely a segment of your potential customers who view low-priced products as inferior and high-priced products as superior, whether they really are or not. With this kind of customer, discount pricing could actually discourage sales. For them, it would be better to keep the price high, while making them feel special, giving them an exclusive buying experience. You may need to think about what value-added features you can employ.

Other strategies mentioned by Intelligence Node include:

  • Dynamic Pricing – employed by large retailers with access to “big data” and systems which can automatically adjust pricing, depending on a variety of factors like demand, competitor prices, stock movements, etc.
  • Multiple Pricing – most commonly seen in the grocery sector, and sometimes in the apparel sector. In this case, the retailer sells more than one product at one single price.