- Advertisers might elicit a Yuletide yawn instead of Christmas cheer from customers if they don’t get the tone right this year
- Over one third of shoppers will start their shopping earlier this year
1 November 2021 – London, UK – The Christmas season is being unwrapped earlier than ever this year, signalled by several festive ads already hitting our TV screens.
In a consumer poll carried out this week by Hall & Partners, the global brand and consumer insight agency, and its data partner Dynata, nearly half of UK consumers said they would be spending the same amount of money as in previous years during the festive period. However, almost 1 in 5 shoppers (18%) will be actively shifting away from excess and spending less. They want to avoid expensive gift buying, seeing it as unnecessary, overindulgent and going against their desire to live more sustainably.
Under pressure to maximise sales in the golden quarter for retail and get back into the black and ahead of any further potential lockdowns or supply chain issues, brands and retailers have kicked off the festive season early. Very, Gap, Disneyland Paris and Hobbycraft have all released their Christmas advertising campaigns earlier than usual, with almost two months still to go before the big day.
‘Excess Escapers’ may feel a little nativity nausea at the thought of Christmas starting in October. They are worried about the cost of Christmas increasing (24% of respondents selected this as an option) and will actively buy sustainable and environmentally friendly products (18%). Homemade gifting could see a resurgence for this segment.
Hobbycraft’s ‘Moments we Make’ ad centres around this very trend, encouraging the sense of achievement and joy people get when giving and receiving something handmade.
Local traders could expect to see a welcome boost to sales with 23% of shoppers saying they will support local businesses this year. With 42% of respondents saying they would be staying at home over the festive period, we can expect to see more people focusing on small treats and home comforts.
‘Frivolity Fanciers’ on the other hand want to adorn their decks with all the trimmings and are planning to celebrate in sumptuous style, possibly making up for the last minute U-turn by the government to scale celebrations down last year. They will be planning ahead to make sure that Christmas is the best it can be – buying in all their favourite treats and perhaps a few more.
In the Hall & Partners’ poll, nearly half of consumers (47%) said they will be spending the same as in previous years, with 10% intending to spend more this year (7% a little more and 3% a lot more).
Branka Orosnjak, European Managing Partner, Hall & Partners, says: “There are two distinct consumer segments that marketers need to appeal to this festive season – the excess escapers who want to have a simpler time at home and the frivolity fanciers who want to ensure that Christmas is the best and brightest it can possibly be after last year’s festivities were ruined for so many.
So far, the campaigns launched do seem to sway towards both tales of Christmas. Gap’s ‘All together Now’ ad uses Katy Perry to remind us that all we need is love for example.
Very.co.uk’s ad campaign, This Very Moment, launched on the 1st October, was the first Christmas ad to appear so very early. It is a nod to consumers who love to plan ahead – both the frivolity fanciers who want to get a head start on the countdown to Christmas in order to make sure they have the most perfect time, as well as the excess escapers who need to spread the cost of Christmas as inflationary retail prices bite. In fact, 36% of respondents said they were planning on starting Christmas shopping early this year.
“Understanding how your customers feel this year will determine which of the two tales of Christmas you might want to follow,” adds Orosnjak. “If, for example, you have a lot of Excess Escapers, avoid showcasing too much frivolity in your Christmas communications or starting too early and sharing too much.”