Christmas marketing, what must-haves for businesses?

If Christmas is always the occasion to see the streets lit up, it is also a time to observe the comings and goings of buyers with their hands filled with numerous packages. However, this period is also a prime time for brands and merchants. They redouble their imagination in order to offer ever more inventive and eye-catching marketing strategies with the aim of transporting us to the heart of the magic of Christmas. Indeed, this end-of-year holiday season is precious for merchants because they achieve a significant part of their annual turnover. Marketing strategies must therefore be designed and implemented in order to best accommodate this time of year and the different targets. To do this, the brands will reuse all the Christmas codes in their advertisements, store windows or even on their packaging, in order to implicitly encourage the customer to buy. Also, consumer habits are changing and new trends are emerging. What are the brands’ marketing strategies today that guide us in our purchases and the new trends that punctuate the holiday season?

Advertising: a real marketing strategy for brands

A warm atmosphere by the fireside, family reunions, many gifts under the Christmas tree, snow, magic… are some examples of the Christmas codes that brands must integrate into their marketing strategy, and they understood well. Advertisements during this period make the most of what, in the minds of consumers, best reflects the mood of the end of the year celebrations.

Moreover, it was the Coca-Cola brand which, in 1931, ended up popularizing the famous red Santa Claus, which became the brand’s emblem at Christmas time. Using Santa Claus was then at the time a marketing strategy to boost their sales which were not very important during the winter season. Even today, Santa Claus remains a strong selling point for brands. But Coca-Cola is not alone in using Christmas symbols like family reunions, merriment or Santa Claus in its advertisements. The agri-food brand Ferrero , which now only markets its Ferrero Rocher in winter and more particularly during the holidays, uses Christmas codes in its advertisements and plays on the wonder of the consumer. Finally, the strategy is to play with the emotion of the viewer who very often associates the Christmas period with joy and happiness, somewhat on the theme of Christmas films that can be enjoyed at the same time.

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The advertising strategy is also associated with the traditional Christmas catalog of large toy stores where children generally spend hours cornering, cutting and tearing many pages in search of the perfect gift or gifts. These catalogs are a tradition accompanied by the letter to Santa Claus and that, the brands have understood. Toy distributors make almost 35% of their turnover over the Christmas period. This year the issue is all the more crucial as last year the health crisis had forced the shops to close during this period. We can therefore see that adapting your marketing and communication to a given period stimulates turnover. It is therefore important for a company to plan a communication plan over the long term in order to build the best possible marketing strategy according to a given period. ESCadrille Toulouse Junior Conseil proposes to support companies in the construction of a communication plan that can respond to these issues.

Brands use other marketing operations

Advertising isn’t the only way for brands and retailers to capitalize on the Christmas period. Marketing strategies are also apparent directly in the shops. Very often during the holiday season, the streets, dressed in their twinkling lights, cohabit with windows in the colors of Christmas. The windows of Parisian department stores such as Les Galeries Lafayette or Printemps are a tradition much appreciated by tourists and locals alike. Each year their designers redouble their imagination to offer ever more original and truly beautiful display cases. The smallest shops are also setting up window displays in Christmas colors or ephemeral installations outside their store in order to arouse envy among customers. The products are often dressed in Christmas packaging in order to reach 100% of consumers because whoever buys the product to offer it is also directly affected by this marketing strategy, ultimately.

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Also, competition games in the form of Advent calendars are increasingly widespread and used by many brands which thus offer gifts throughout the month of December, in fact attracting ever more customers. The food sector is successful at Christmas. Indeed, the French plan on average a budget of €130 for their Christmas meal and professionals in the sector have understood this well.

This is particularly the case for chocolate shops which are a must for the holidays. They are full of ideas to offer chocolate sculptures, Yule logs and other small delicacies in the window in order to attract the eye of the customer. Chocolate is indeed a vector of growth because some large retail chains achieve nearly 3.4% of their turnover at Christmas. Apart from chocolate, in-store promotion of flagship Christmas products, such as capon, turkey, foie gras, salmon and snails, is all the rage. They can be found on dedicated stands, in supermarkets in particular, and on the front pages of culinary magazines. Finally, one of the other Christmas must-haves remains champagne, which represents 1.5% of sales in the food sector, 3.5 times more than outside the festive period.

Christmas marketing, what must-haves for businesses?

New consumer trends at Christmas

The Christmas period is cradled by the excitement and impatience of many consumers. Between the Christmas markets where the smell of mulled wine takes us away, the windows of small and large stores with dazzling illuminations and the Internet which multiplies the tempting offers, the temptation is great. For a majority of French people, this period rhymes with the purchase of one or more gifts for loved ones. Often more expensive gifts than the rest of the year in this somewhat special time. Thus, a substantial budget is allocated to this season. For Christmas 2021, the average French budget will be 533 euros compared to 603 euros in 2020 according to a Cofidis survey on the French budget for Christmas, and a tendency to purchase Made In France products. A significant drop in this budget, which can be explained in particular by a less favorable economic context.

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Nevertheless, although consumers are more cautious in their spending during this period, we note that the average number of gifts will be 8.5, which is up from last year. However, the magic of Christmas quickly catches up with these consumers who, even with a smaller budget, are full of ideas to limit costs while still having fun. For this, promotion periods are for 36% ( Ma Réduc survey ) of French people the opportunity to do their Christmas shopping.

The arrival of the Black Friday trend in France in recent years contributes to this. Black Friday is a tradition in the United States that comes the day after Thanksgiving and kicks off Christmas shopping across the Atlantic. It is also the most profitable day for businesses. Thus, in recent years, this trend has emerged in France and allows you to make great savings on the first purchases at the end of the year. Moreover, 66% of French people buy their gifts before the beginning of December.

Christmas marketing, what must-haves for businesses?

Finally, the French let themselves be seduced by other new trends. Among them, the “ Do-It-Yourself ” ( DIY ) trend is booming. Making your own Christmas gifts or decorations while reducing costs is an increasingly widespread practice. Many DIY workshops are also very successful during the holiday season, a sign of a real enthusiasm for this trend. We can also cite collaborative consumption , which today appeals to about a third of French people. This model makes it possible to consume smartly by buying second-hand toys, by resorting to barter but also for a few years now on platforms like Vinted for example, which makes it possible to optimize the end-of-year budget as well as possible.

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Christmas is sometimes criticized for having become too commercial a holiday. It is true that consumers are always buying more gifts, but with new trends, there is a desire to buy smarter or to do it yourself. Finally, the brands and their marketing strategies participate in the wonder of young and old by reminding us that this celebration is joyful and magical and that it is also a privileged moment for everyone to lend themselves a little to dream.

Christmas marketing, what must-haves for businesses?

Anyway, ESCadrille wishes you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

  • This article was written by Paul Rousselot 3 years ago when he was in office, so we took care to update it to publish it again today. Check out Paul’s Linkedin profile .