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Christmas 2021 is make or break for UK marketers

Christmas 2021 is make or break for UK marketers

Christmas 2021 is shaping up to be a big, big year for UK brands and marketers. Following two pandemic-hit years in which customers and brands retreated away from the high street, UK marketers are evolving and changing their marketing campaigns for the Christmas 2021 period. For many brands, it is a make or break moment.

Digital Experience Management software Sitecore claims that just a quarter of marketers are prepared for this year’s Christmas period. This is despite the vast majority of UK marketers viewing this period as vital to the survival and next stage of their business.

eCommerceAge sampled 1000 UK customers to get a view of the holiday shopping trend before the period officially begins. 28% of those sampled, plan to holiday shop before the summer ends. The reasons given for early shopping by those sampled are: summer sale prices, spreading costs throughout the year following pandemic-hit financials and avoiding high street crowds.

Advanis conducted another study on 400 UK marketers to see how the companies are reacting to the holiday period. They found that 83% of UK marketers believe Christmas 2021 will be key to their survival following pandemic related struggles. For businesses with physical stores, 45% of marketers believe this is the last chance to prove the viability and usefulness of brick and mortar physical stores.

One would be mistaken for talking about end-of-the-year shopping events without talking about Black Friday. Black Friday poses a very interesting conundrum so soon after exiting lockdown. Whilst 68% of marketers are planning promotions for the Black Friday event, 36% of marketers are concerned the potential for large crowds will deter consumers away from physical stores. Furthermore, online discounts are getting more and more competitive making it harder for physical in-store sales to stand out.

Digital marketing for the Christmas period is paramount. It has always been a major date in the marketing calendar with Christmas focused adverts and campaigns, but this year it is the hook a lot of brands are hanging on to. 93% of marketers believe that digital marketing is now business-critical for surviving the business period. This is because 8 out of 10 holiday shoppers are influenced by the internet before making decisions. 68% of shoppers even visit the YouTube channel of a business or product, on their smartphones, to determine what to buy. Long gone are the days of billboards and half-time adverts influencing consumers to go to the high street. Digital content is what grabs the eyes and showcases a brand, its message and its ideals to a potential consumer.

What marketing techniques are brands using this Christmas season?

  • 71% of marketers are trialling subscription-based engagement (Brands like Harry’s, Manscape, Dollar Shave Club and Glossier have monthly subscription boxes that retain a consumer base and guaranteed revenue flow every quarter)
  • 61% of marketers are introducing new virtual services to try on clothes (post-pandemic consumers are hesitant to visit physical stores amid large events like Christmas and Black Friday, virtual try-on apps add ease of accessibility for consumers and makes your brand stand out from other businesses)
  • 57% of marketers have added AI-based chatbots to their websites and stores (the thinking here is show businesses are listening to customers and once again improving ease of access)

A big shake up is coming once the fallout out of Christmas 2021 is done. The UK high street, UK brands and UK marketers are always having to adapt to the times, but post-pandemic the times are very hard to judge and cater to. As mentioned above, campaigns and moves have been made to take advantage of the holidays as usual but will the move away from physical stores put more onus on digital marketing?