Shopping for Christmas

 

This morning I was listening to Amanda Holden on Heart FM as she decided the time had come to kick off Christmas on her breakfast show!  She started playing some reassuringly familiar Christmas songs, and for a little while, everything felt reassuringly familiar.

Retailers will be hoping that reassuring sense of a traditional Christmas will be be matched by consumer shopping habits this season.

A large part of any retailer’s annual sales and profits occurs in the three months before Christmas. For this to work perfectly, retailers know that having the right goods at the right price in the weeks leading up to Christmas is essential. But, this is far from a perfect year for so many reasons.

For the past six years, Retail Assist has conducted its annual Black Friday survey which gives a good insight into the mind space of consumers in the last few weeks to Christmas.  Whilst Retail Assist have asked many of the usual questions, they’ve added more questions to reflect the current COVID-19 situation and how it might affect consumer spending and behaviour.

This year, 1,200 people have been surveyed and some of the results are quite surprising, and in retail terms, there are some significant shifts predicted):
• This year, a whopping 67% of people said that they planned to shop Black Friday this year – a huge 10% rise on last year
• Whilst the majority of people (59%) said that Black Friday doesn’t usually kick start their Christmas shopping, 66% of people said that they were looking to start their Christmas shopping earlier this year
• 43% of people said that this was a budget-related decision, so they could spread the cost out. However, interestingly, the second most popular reason people chose was that it gave them something to do; as harsher restrictions were brought in in the run-up to Christmas, shopping from your sofa has become entertainment as much as necessity
• 40% of people said that they can get carried away with all the discounts – an increase of 20% from last year
• Every year, technology items have always been the most popular choice – but not this year. Clothes were the standalone winner at 55%, with beauty buys at 31% and technology shrinking to 24% of respondents.

To all colleagues who I have worked with on the seasonal gifting market, I do hope this is a good one for you.  And to all friends who run fabulous boutique businesses which desperately depend on Christmas sales, I hope you get the bumper Christmas you so dearly need and deserve.

 

The Top Three

Take a look at these three brands – a beloved retailer, the world’s most valuable brand, and a brand that is so inseparable from it’s founder.

They all now have something in common.  They have been named  as the top three brands that gain most admiration from marketeers, from the recent research by GCUK (Grupo Consultores UK).  These three brand have leapfrogged over rivals such as Coca-Cola, Unilever, Nike, Tesco and P&G.

Criag Inglis (Marketing Director, John Lewis) summed it up susinctly, “Marketeers, like consumers, get excited when brands innovate, deliver on their brand promises and engage on an emotional level.”

I think John Lewis may have reached the top for a number of reasons.  The Company’s “partnership model” of its 81,000 staff, is one facet of this business that sets it apart in the market place, and ensures that company clearly is in touch with it’s consumer voice. But probably the biggest influencer was the brand’s Christmas 2011 advertising – you know the one – “For gifts you can’t wait to give”  - following a little boy impatiently counting down to Christmas, not to receive presents, but to give them.  What a charming ad, cleverly talking to all parents.  It made John Lewis both accessible and asrpirational in regards to it’s positioning. The ad really stood out amongst the usual M&S, Iceland and Debenham’s offerings, and delivered, quite simply, the most impactful, memorable Christmas ad.

Admiration and congratulations to John Lewis for this new achievement – a lot of pressure now on the creatives to deliver another sensational Christmas Ad!

 

Lucy Goaman

 

 

 

 

Winter Wonderland – Selfridges

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Selfridges is enjoying the success of their revolutionary window display for its 2011 Christmas season. Epitomising this year’s White Christmas theme, the Oxford Street windows create a true winter wonderland in the heart of the capital.

Amazingly, the windows are musical! Each window has been turned into oversized music boxes, my favourite are the ones playing re-worked Christmas carols. Shoppers are getting interactive with the windows, as each pane is equipped with a state-of-the-art touch-screen wind-up system to control the track.

Russ Jones and Scott King from Condiment Junkie, the London-based creative outfit behind the technology, explain more about this global innovation:

“First, the new system plays music through, not from, the windows – using the glass pane itself as the loudspeaker. Additionally, the system is devised in such a way that although each window plays a different tune, customers are able to listen to the track without interference from the music being played through the next window.”

Then take a wander inside the store, and head for White Wonders – the ultimate destination for all beauty and fashion junkies. All the products in White Wonders, are, as expected, on theme, and are the most beautiful white products available, many made exclusively for Selfridges.

If you are a retailer, have you transformed your window space this Christmas, and have given your shoppers a novel Christmas experience, I would love to hear about it.