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If you were to head to any novel gifting site, you would likely find that one of the sectors to pick from is ‘Gadgets’. Defined as any small, mainly electronic, accessory or tool which provides a functional purpose in a unique and innovative way, many of the gadgets on the market are designed and presented using novel characters, colours and design features – taking something useful and elevating its appearance and usage with those little areas of thought which make something gift-worthy.
As with so much of the technology and electrics industry, gadgets can often become mixed up with other devices and products, leading to product crossover which can noy only confuse the industry sectors but can also create issues when it comes to marketing and running various deals on gadgets or technological accessories. If you were to look for a way of helping gadgets stand out in a market full of technological devices and objects, the best thing to do is to look at gadgets as innovative concepts which have not hit the mainstream market and are thus considered widely unique.
This leads nicely into a look at which retailers and brands are operating at the top of the gadgets industry, with marketplace sites and independent sellers often dominating the sector with regards to the creation of products which elevate the user experience; either as a standalone gadget or as a gadget which supports the use of something more mainstream.
A great example is a smartphone case which features a built-in selfie light: designed to shine a bright light onto the face of the user to shroud them in a flattering light which is perfect for taking a selfie. Another example could be a small electronic tag which can be attached to a set of keys and which makes a noise through a smartphone app to help you find your keys.
Meanwhile, a good example of a standalone gadget is a wine stopper which tells you the exact temperature of the wine inside the bottle, or an alarm clock which jumps off the table and moves around the room until you find it and turn it off manually in order to get you out of bed in time.
Products like these tend to be found across marketplace sites and specialist gift retailers, as well as in the gifting sections of department stores and larger high street retailers as stores see the benefit of gadgets during popular gifting times: for example Christmas, as gadgets make excellent stocking fillers.
Some of the most prominent retailers in the gadgets sector include:
You may have noticed through this list that a few of them are very broad retailers which operate across a number of different retail industries and sectors, while others are much more targeted and tend to attract those looking for something which is specifically unique and entertaining, or else which sits in a very niche marketplace in terms of its design – for example ThinkGeek and Firebox which are both renowned for their niche products which focus on the gaming and science fiction gadgets industry. What this shows is the broad spectrum of gadgets which are available once you start to delve further into the sector, with some of the top product lines centring around:
When you look at the list as a whole, you can start to pick apart the different sectors which are served by the gadgets industry – all of which attract and are designed for different target audiences, and which employ different marketing techniques in order to reach that audience.
One of the key things to note about the gadgets industry is its prominence within the gifting sector – meaning that those buying the gadgets are often doing so to present to someone else as the end user. Marketing gadgets as part of stocking filler gifts and including them on Christmas lists is one of the best ways that brands can get their products in the wide realm of marketing platforms, with some of the most successful brands not only selling through their own ecommerce sites but also pitching their products to department stores and large retailers, marketplace sites and stores, and gifting review blogs and articles.
For those gadgets which serve the children’s industry and are designed as toys for kids, one of the major areas of marketing and sales is through toy stores and toy retailers – specifically those which have large platforms and a wide range of followers. We tend to find that those gadgets which are most popular with children are the ones which pick up on and capitalise on the latest toy and character trends – for example wearable toys and gadgets which help children become their favourite characters, and remote controllable gadgets which input them into their favourite stories.
When we listed the top retailers in the gadgets industry, it was clear that some of the big names are marketplace sites like Amazon, NotOnTheHighstreet and IWOOT – none of which are exclusive to the industry but which all boast a wide presence as gifting retailers and thus are an ideal browsing space for both buyers and sellers. Those retailers which make gifting even easier – for example Amazon which supports “straight to gift recipient” sales – add a little extra in terms of customer experience which makes the process more streamlined and attractive to the buyer.
When we talk about challenges in any industry, one of the most prominent areas of focus lies in the way that the industry relates to and links with other complimentary industries. In the case of the gadgets industry, this is technology and electronics as a whole, with one of the challenges being how gadget products and manufacturers can keep up with the consistent changes and developments within the technology sector. The fact is that much of what makes a gadget fun and useful is the way it fits perfectly into or onto an existing device – but if individual consumers continually upgrade and change their devices, and manufacturers of smartphones and other technology products keep on altering the finish of these new releases and products, gadgets are also having to constantly change in order to keep up and remain relevant. And as more and more technology advances play their part in the industry, so the gap between the devices and gadgets is only going to grow.
Probably the most influential trend in the gadgets industry, and one which has sparked the growth of all manner of different gadget products and ideas, is the trend around innovation and finding new ways of offering consumers solutions to problems they didn’t even know they had. The very best gadgets on the market are those which fulfil a need in a way that is light-hearted and often entertaining – be it in the presentation, the delivery, or the basic functionality of the product.
An example might be a special torch which is selected by the buyer for a friend or family member who really likes cats. At first glance the torch is a generic torch ideal to be stored in a bag or a pocket. Once the light is switched on, it quickly becomes apparent that the beam of light is in fact designed in the shape of a cat’s face. So, you see, the overriding feature of this specific gadget is not the item itself, but the way that it is presented.
Another example of a fun and useful gadget comes from a brand called Peeps – who draw on the idea that those with glasses are always needing to take them off and give them a clean or a wipe. Designed with the simplest of concepts, relying on a thick pair of pincers with padded surfaces on each side, Peeps provides users with a simple and effective methods of cleaning glasses time and time again – attracting a huge following due to their very affordable nature and the unarguably useful and functional design.
That’s not to say that all gadgets are built around fun – some are merely functional yet still manage to be presented in branded packaging, making them an ideal solution not only for personal gifts but for corporate gifts as well. A good example of this is wireless chargers, which have picked up traction in the last year or so and are now high end corporate style gifts which are used by a plethora of companies as a way of getting their branding and logo into the offices of some of their most high profile clients. Wireless chargers, once a gimmick, are now a usable gadget which makes charging easier – however, as previously explored, they are only compatible with certain phones which allow for wireless charging, thus cutting the user base down significantly to only include those who own the right phones which work alongside wireless chargers.
To look at the industry in terms of its purchase price and value, often we hear consumers stating that gadgets are really expensive. For one thing, that is only true of those with technological intervention. While some are notoriously expensive, specifically those which utilise high end and new technology such as drones and remote controlled cars or robots, the gadgets we associated with small stocking fillers are often very affordable – with many retailers operating discounts and multi buy deals for those who purchase more than one or who become loyal returning customers. “Budget-friendly” is one of those buzzword terms which is making the rounds across a number of retail industries, specifically those in gifting sectors where multiple products can be purchased at any one time. A large part in the growth of the gadgets industry is being found by those brands which take existing yet still innovative concepts and ideas and transport them into more affordable products – for example wireless headphones and earbuds which are popular with users of all ages and demographics but which, in their early days, were limited to very high priced brands. Today, the range of wireless headphones across different price points means they are much more mainstream but still operate within the gadgets industry as they present a unique way of listening to music.
Finally, we have those gadgets which are designed to turn one thing into another through the use of a little extra technology – for example a smart TV hub box which can turn any TV into a smart TV; a mount which can turn any phone into an instant-print camera; even a keyless projector which can be switched on and instantly turn any flat surface into a keyboard. All of these kinds of gadgets are the ones which require talent and ingenuity to design them – and once designed, rely almost entirely on luck and market demand, as well as high level marketing, in order to get them into the stores and lines of sight of the captive audience base. Some of the most popular brands out there have taken different avenues with regards to their advertising campaigns, including social media platform use, corporate partnerships and sponsorships, and even mainstream media outlets such as Dragon’s Den which is notorious for its funding and presentation of all manner of different gadgets in the hopes of receiving the support of the infamous Dragons.
If you are shopping within the gadgets industry, whether you’re looking for a gift or a present for yourself, or even something useful to make a small area of your life that little bit easier, research can often lead you towards brands and products that you have never heard of but which can sometimes deliver the same results if not more than big name brands and retailers in the technology industry. For vouchers and discounts applicable in the gadgets industry, head to our Gadgets page.
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