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An international view: “The shift to online retail has greatly accelerated”

Jewel Branding & Licensing’s Ilana Wilensky on the rapid shift to a digital marketplace and an increase in cause-based licensing partnerships.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every country across the globe. has been catching up with a selection of licensors and licensing agents from Europe, the US and Russia to find out more about how their businesses have been affected and how they see the rest of 2020 playing out.

Today, we head to the US to get the views of Ilana Wilensky, president, Jewel Branding & Licensing.

“We have been actively connecting with licensees to see how they’re doing and to touch base on how we can be of service. There has been continued interest in our creative services, trend direction and new artwork.

With consumers spending more time at home, they are looking for ways to decorate their spaces and purchase activity-based products that can be enjoyed at home. We have signed several new partners in home textiles including bedding, kitchen textiles and towels. We’ve also seen interest in categories including puzzles, colouring books, paint by number and diamond painting.

Traffic in the stores varies depending on the retailer and state regulations, but generally there seems to be an increase in store traffic. The shift to online retail has greatly accelerated due to the pandemic and we anticipate that trend to continue.

We think the biggest challenge to overcome will be a decrease in sales and royalty revenue that resulted from store closures, lack of spending and overall economic uncertainty from the pandemic. Even with the recent reopening of stores, we anticipate a recovery will take some time. Retailers have canceled orders and delayed payments to their vendors which creates challenges for licensees. The good news is we are hearing from many of our licensees that retailers are ready to see new presentations which is a very good sign.

I think there are several conversations the licensing industry needs to be having, with key points being the rapid shift to a digital marketplace, an increase in cause-based licensing partnerships and the need to re-evaluate what products people are going to be inclined to buy in the future.”

This feature originally appeared in the summer 2020 edition of Licensing Source Book. To read the full publication, click on this link.

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