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  • Kidswear is trending
  • Ornico banks on Joburg CBD
  • “Read to Remember” says Publisher Research Council

Growing up smart

A trend for 2017 that doesn’t appear to have received much attention is the steep upward growth curve in the kidswear category, with international market research company Technavio forecasting the sector’s growth to be more than 6% by 2020 — far surpassing the anticipated growth in the women and men’s wear sectors for the same period.

This boom appears to be in stark contrast with the performance of the overall clothing sector, particularly locally.

Charl Cronje, managing director of value retailer Ackermans, attributes the slowdown to macro-environmental factors: “The drop in the rand’s value, climate change, political uncertainty and the rising cost of inflation [have] impacted consumers across the board.”

This does not mean they’re not spending: “Gone are the days of children wearing ‘hand-me-downs’ or ill-fitting clothing. Even in a tough economy, our own research reveals that South Africans consistently put their children first, wanting them to look and feel their best.”

Boosted by the infiltration of fashion into children’s clothing, this category is consistently outperforming other lines: “The advent of technology and rise of social media have also been huge contributors to this growth, specifically in the pre-teen category.”

And, thanks to social platforms such as Instagram and technology such as smartphones, satellite TV and tablets, children now have immediate access to international trends, leading to an increasingly discerning and style-conscious young customer, with the usual enormous ‘pester power’.

To take advantage of the category growth, Cronje believes that retailers need to be customer-centric and adaptable: “If a line of kids’ jackets sold well last year, don’t assume a similar style will do well this year. Don’t repeat a formula simply because it was successful in the past. It is integral to pay attention to and constantly reassess customers’ needs, innovate and adapt accordingly, and then deliver well — and consistently — on your brand proposition.”


Historic new home for Ornico

Brand and media intelligence company, Ornico, has moved its operations from Sandton into an historic building at 90 Albertina Sisulu Street in Johannesburg’s CBD, now called Ornico City, marking a new phase in the organisation’s journey.

Oresti Patricios, CEO of Ornico, acquired the old Natal Bank Building in January 2016 and has been working for the past year to restore the building to its former glory. Provisionally declared a national heritage site in 1990, it is the oldest standing bank building in Joburg.

Patricios acquired the premises after the media- and brand-research company had outgrown its old premises in Grayston Drive: “I was looking for a new location for Ornico’s head office, and was set on moving back to Johannesburg from Sandton. Urban spaces are our future, and Johannesburg’s inner city is very much the heart and soul of what it means to be South African. One loses a sense of that pulse out in Sandton. There’s an energy, an enthusiasm, and opportunity for massive innovation in the city that’s contagious.”

The neoclassical Natal Bank Building was constructed immediately after the Anglo Boer War and, when Patricios first saw it, it had started to fall into a state of disrepair. Ornico has spent the last six months working with Sakhive Construction, a Jozi-based construction and restoration company, to repair and renovate the site. The building’s interior refurbishment is being done by international boutique interior architecture firm StudioA, which was founded by 28-year-old Tristan du Plessis, a young SA designer.

Du Plessis says owners of heritage sites are tasked with maintaining the building’s historical integrity: “We accepted the task of restoring the property to its former glory, which meant furnishing it to Ornico’s needs and giving it a contemporary edge, while still respecting the beautiful historic building.”

According to Patricios, the building is remarkable: “The mastery of the construction, the absolute detail in the counters, lights and pressed ceilings. The height from ceiling to floor, the typical curves so common to architecture of its time, and the balconies that lead out and overlook Johannesburg.”

The move marks a new phase for Ornico, which has expanded into Nigeria and Kenya and is looking at entering other African territories. “We’ve grown so much during the past few years, it makes sense that our next strong push into Africa will be driven from the very centre of Johannesburg’s central business district.”


Reading = ROI

After 40 years of a single source AMPS, the industry is moving to the global model of a hub Establishment Survey (ES), with the newly formed Publisher Research Council (PRC) of South Afric as an integral spoke.

Publisher Research Council of South Africa logoThe PRC has been created to meet the needs of fast-changing reading behaviour across both traditional and digital reading platforms, and to provide a “Gold Standard” Reader Audience Measurement founded on global and local best practice, expertise and resources.

Peter Langschmidt, PRC GM, says: “We will ensure the most-complete measurement of reader audiences, across all platforms, to inform effective advertising investment, unlike in the past, when reader research provided advertisers with only the numbers.”

“Read to Remember”, the PRC slogan, stresses its commitment to researching and better understanding both the quality and quantity of the audiences.

In keeping with the PRC ethos, projects, studies and upcoming research this year includes Media Synergy, which combines Nielsen Adex data with the GFK consumer scanner panel sales of 3000 representative South African shoppers. This is meant to shows that, when including print and online in a schedule, the actual sales ROI per rand spent is better than TV or radio.

Based along the lines of similar panels such as PAMCO in the UK and EMMA in Australia, the PRC will begin development of its own panel in 2017.


Cheryl HunterShelf Life is’s weekly column covering all things new. Notify us of yours at shelflife at marklives dot com. Want to sponsor Shelf Life? Contact us here.

Cheryl Hunter (@cherylhunter) has written for the South African media, marketing and advertising industries for more than 15 years. A former editor of M&M in Independent Newspapers and contributor to Bizcommunity, AdFocus, AdReview and the Ad Annual, she has also produced for various television networks and currently consults on communication strategy and media liaison.

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