What is the UK's Favourite Christmas Shop?

Where do you intend to spend most money this Christmas? And what has influenced you to shop in a particular store?

According to new research, Marks & Spencer is the UK’s favourite Christmas shop, with nearly a third of British people saying they plan to spend the most money at M&S during this year’s festive season.

The research was conducted by Rakuten Marketing and Morar Research. They surveyed 2,000 consumers across the UK about their loyalty to both existing and emerging brands in the fields of fashion, luxury, department stores and lifestyle.

The survey included several open-ended questions to investigate the most popular brands, and perceptions of how some of the most recognisable retailers have changed and evolved in recent years.

The research reveals that the top five companies (in terms of intended customer spend) this year are:

1. Marks & Spencer (28%)
2. Boots (25%)
3. John Lewis (17%)
4. Next (10%)
5. House of Fraser (8%)

The Most Effective Marketing Channels

The research found, that despite the success of the ‘Buster the Dog’ and ‘Mrs. Claus’ adverts, only 27% of people will make a purchase based on a brands’ TV adverts. This is despite top retailers spending a massive £7 million on Christmas TV advertising.

Although consumers eagerly await the release of the famous Christmas ads, these results suggest that marketers need to ask if they should be investing more of their budget in areas, such as the internet and other interactive marketing channels.

Over a third of consumers (33%) said that they are more likely to make a decision about where to buy gifts by browsing on websites to find information.

Word of mouth is also still one of the most important sources of information for consumers, with over a third of respondents (31%) listening to advice from friends and family about where to purchase from. In addition, a fifth (20%) of shoppers are influenced by window displays, suggesting that targeted display advertising could help to drive potential customers in store to make a purchase.

Other Findings of the Research

84% of respondents plan to carry on spending in the same stores where purchased Christmas gifts, after the festive season has ended. This indicates that if a brand can win sales during the festive season, then they are likely to win loyalty throughout the rest of the year.

23% of shoppers say that loyalty points redeemable against future purchase incentivise them to spend more online, showing the value of keeping a customer once they have invested in a brand.

44% of consumers said that the awareness of voucher codes (such as a 10% discount) would prompt them to purchase more, showing the power of incentives.

51% of respondents said that, following Brexit, they care most about buying from British brands.

Rakhee Jogia, Regional Director of Rakuten Marketing said: “TV ad campaigns alone are not driving sales. However, when part of a wider digital marketing campaign they can be extremely effective. It’s important that brands build interactive formats into their ads that connect broadcast with targeted mobile ads for example. In addition, brands need to be able to measure the impact of TV in the context of the whole path to purchase. The journey to a sale is complex and marketers need sight of how each of their individual channels and campaigns are working together to drive consumers towards a sale.”

Jogia continues “The fact that people are more likely to shop with a brand all year round, if they have made a purchase in December, means marketers must work particularly hard this quarter to win brand loyalty. They can add value to the customer experience by working with rewards and loyalty partners. Showing a customer that a brand values their custom and advocacy builds a strong relationship.”

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