The Future of Christmas: Myth 2

Recently we announced the latest in our OMD Future of Britain research series: The Future of Christmas.

One of our key findings from this mammoth piece of work was a sequence of popular myths on the subject of the festive period that our data disproved. Over the coming months we’ll continue to share these with you and what the implications are for brands and advertisers.

Today: Myth #2: Black Friday is the New Staple for Christmas Gifting

FACT: Fewer than one in five Brits bought their Christmas gifts in Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales.

Along with many modern festive mainstays imported from the USA (Egg Nog, Starbucks’ Red Cups, and the infamous Coca-Cola red Santa), in 2014 we fully immersed ourselves in a less savoury tradition – the Black Friday/Cyber Monday retail sales.

With £810m of sales in a single day, Black Friday was a resounding success for retailers who aimed to clear their shelves of outdated products, excess stock and discontinued lines. You’d be forgiven for thinking that at the end of November, much of this would make up Brits’ Christmas gift purchases.

However, our nationally representative study of over 4,000 Brits identified that fewer than one in five actually bought gifts on these days. Black Friday was instead used to shop for household items, impulse purchases and personal treats, rather than gifts.

Despite strong awareness of the commercial event (as high as 90%), this didn’t translate into gift purchase. Indeed, many canny Brits were sceptical of the “offers” available:

“I am very aware that sale items/Black Friday stuff is old/outdated stock but if you take the time you can get some fab bargains.”

I think shops will discount more and do it earlier. Black Friday will still see customers becoming brain dead and buying old stock thinking they are getting a bargain and never noticing there was never any current products in the sale! Got to love the way shops clear out old stock and make people want to buy it.”

So what?

The sentiment of the event means consumers are in ‘shopping mode’ – with bargain hunting a type of social currency for many. However, the frenzied scenes, chaos and carnage portrayed by the media don’t transmit the magic and Christmas spirit to plucky consumers. Providing an oasis of calm, an alternative way to shop or a more pleasant experience will be key to picking up Brits who don’t wish to partake in the chaos, but do wish to buy on that day.

Next time: Myth 3: Men are always the last to market

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Frances Revel

Nosey by nature, Frances fell into the perfect career to satisfy her curiosities and obsession with trends. In her years of experience in marketing and media research, she has studied everything from engine oil in Indonesia to the contents of the UK's breakfast bowls.

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