The Greek premium and gift market

Learn more about the Greek gift and premium market. Interview with Katerina Gizoti from the Doron company in Greece.
katerina gizoti
I’m adding her photo for you to understand why it’s such a pleasure for me to interview her. 🙂

Henk :Katerina, Could you please give some short feedback about yourself and your company, when your company start in Premium and gift business ? Does your company import products from China, US or other European countries etc.
Katerina : We started in 1993 and I joined the sales department initially as account director, but soon I got in charge of the sourcing and marketing department. The above are not my only involvements in the company though..
I have been living in London for almost 12 years, where I have been studying and later working in companies within the Market research and Public relations field. So the idea of promotional gifts was something “familiar” to me long time before I got involved into this business.
“Doron advertising gifts” started with imports mainly from the EU market , and just a few imports from the Chinese market. We were imprinting most of our products.
Today we import a lot from China , less from the USA and of course we still buy a lot from the EU, mainly because Greek people decide at the very last moment about what they need, so in many cases we can only “provide it on time” if we buy from the European market, even at an extra cost.
I must admit though that lately Chinese companies are getting more flexible with smaller quantities and faster delivery, 20 -30 days, so it is possible to buy more from them, especially if the air cargo cost is not significantly added on the product’s cost.

Henk : Can you describe the structure of your local Premium and Gift market? How many distributors are active? I know the Dorekthesi tradefair in Athens as we have been together there, but was astonished that there were only a few companies like yours proposing a full range of products Are there importers keeping stock of gifts and premiums? Which are the “active” regions in Greece?
Katerina : I cannot really say how many distributors are active, but they should not be more than 40 – 50 companies that are strongly active in the Greek market, in the same sense as we are.
Most of the companies that are keeping stock of promotional gifts , are specialising in particular kind of products e.g. pens textiles, lighters, bags etc. or have a particular range of products but not as much choice as the European importers.
These companies have enough stock to cover the annual market needs for all of their regular products.
Regarding the active geographical regions, number one is the region of Athens , and second comes Thessaloniki. The islands of Crete and Rhodes, Patra, Larisa, and Volos are also quite interesting areas .
Also the most popular islands and summer resorts are very interesting in terms of turnover during summer time.
We are among the very few companies in Greece that can supply a really wide range of ready products as well as customised products, and also have homemade printing and laser engraving facilities.
That makes us flexible competitive and fast. I am not stating that it is easy to follow up so many different items and activities but it was a challenge for us and I think we manage pretty well. We work hard and very long hours though to achieve that. You know that!

Henk : Is the Greek Market similar to the other EU markets product wise? Do you sell in Greece the same type of products? Is there a type of products particularly popular In Greece? At the fair in Athens I have seen many booths proposing promotional lighters. Do you have any precise figures about sales volumes?
Katerina : The percentage of sales per each different product in the Greek market is not very similar to the EU markets. The main reason is “lower budgets than the EU market’s budgets” Of course every product that is being sold to any other EU markets is also being sold here.
The most popular products are still lighters, pens, jockey hats and t-shirts as you well noticed during your visit in our fair.
This however does not mean that there is no high demand for new unusual items, especially from large companies and companies that target younger target groups, or other specific target groups.
Innovative products have a high demand and this is why we have “to keep an eye” in the international market . We are among the companies that can suggest fresh ideas.
This is why we “added” in our logo the phrase “gadgets ingenious”.
As per the sales volume unfortunately there is no any official figure published therefore I could not suggest.

Henk : I know it’s difficult, but what is the market share of locally produced items, Chinese import and EU imports? How do you feel about this?
Katerina : As I said above there are no official figures, but according to my opinion, it should be about 20% for locally produced items 30% for EU imports and 50% Chinese imports. Not very long time ago, Greece was on the top of the textiles manufacturing sector, and I am sorry that this is not the case anymore. Of course there still small manufacturers of items that are being used for promotional reasons, and I hope there will be more in the future.

Henk : In a few last words, how do you think the Greek premiums and gifts market will evaluate in the next years?
Katerina : I believe that the prospect is high for any company that is providing fast and efficient service and is keeping up dated.
Also as time is valuable I believe that there is future for the “full service” companies. This is saving time to all account or brand or marketing managers, and “time is money” as we say in Greece. Everyone is seeking for reliable suppliers and so are our clients.
Innovations and internet applications and use are going to be some of the main factor for success.

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Thanks Katerina for your time !