Have you noticed the British are coming? All winter my friends and I were obsessed with the drama Downton Abbey. From the media coverage and ratings, we know many Americans were similarly taken with the British import.
But the new British invasion is more than a program being broadcast on PBS. There was of course the hoopla surrounding last year’s Royal wedding, and last week’s Diamond Jubilee celebration for Queen Elizabeth. And of course the summer Olympics start in London next month.
What does this have to do with small business? Plenty, if you look at the new data from Alibaba, the online marketplace for small businesses, which “shows big increases in searches and inquires for goods that tap into the ‘Best of British’ zeitgeist.”
Obviously consumers are eager to buy what these business owners are selling. Take a look at what’s hot:
Influenced no doubt by Downton Abbey, in the U.S. there was an 85 percent increase in searches for vintage dresses from February to April 2012, compared to the previous quarter (before Downton Abbey’s new season started airing). Also in demand (globally) were feather hats (up 133 percent), sequin headbands (+190 percent), cigarette holders (+538 percent), and elbow-length gloves (+136 percent). Alibaba says U.S. buyers accounted for the highest numberof searches forelbow-length gloves, feather hats and sequin headbands in the past year.
Downton Abbey has been renewed and the new season starts airing here in the States in January 2013. You might plan ahead and start stocking up for holiday sales (the marketing hype is sure to start this fall).”