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M&S is top store for UK’s Christmas spend says survey

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today Dec 1, 2016
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M&S will be a key beneficiary of UK Christmas spending this year, despite its well-publicised problems, a new survey shows.
 
Digital marketing company Rakuten surveyed 2,000 consumers and 28% said they will spend more money at M&S than any other store. The company is likely to benefit from a Christmas-friendly spread of products including fashion, beauty, homewares and foods.

Its ad may not be influential but M&S is still the top store for UK Christmas shopping


M&S was ahead of Boots (25%), John Lewis (17%) and Next (10%) with House of Fraser rounding out the top five list.

But only 27% of respondents said they would be influenced by Christmas ad campaigns, backing up other research from MoneySavingExpert that casts doubt on the power of expensive ad campaigns to drive traffic in-store and online.

Instead, shoppers said they are most influenced by browsing online first (33%), word of mouth (31%) and strong visual merchandising in store windows (20%).

As many as 84% of respondents plan to carry on spending in the stores they have purchased Christmas gifts from after the Christmas season has ended. This indicates that if a brand can secure sales at Christmas, it is likely to win loyalty throughout the rest of the year.

And over half of those surveyed (51%) also claimed they will prioritise buying British this festive season post-Brexit vote. Rakuten said British brands should ensure that they target the ‘grey pound’ as loyalty to buying British increases to nearly 60% among the over 60s.

Rakhee Jogia, Regional Director of Rakuten Display Europe at Rakuten Marketing, said: “WPP recently reported Brexit anxiety saying that advertisers are hesitant to spend on ad dollars. However, our data suggests that British brands can capitalise on the desire to buy British. Now is the time to invest in branding and campaigns that solidify the ‘best of British’ message in order to gain loyalty from customers.”

As far as the factors that suppress consumer interest in buying from a particular retailer online are concerned, the survey showed postage and packaging costs are most likely to turn shoppers away from a brand. As many as 35% of consumers would not spend money with a brand online that adds this cost on, while 50% are more likely to spend with a brand if their delivery costs are free.
 
And 23% of shoppers said 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. For 44% of consumers the awareness of voucher codes, such as a 10% discount, can prompt them to purchase more, highlighting the power of incentives.

Rakuten also said that although consumers are quite keen to see retailers’ festive TV ads, their lack of impact as far as our shopping choices are concerned should lead marketers to ask if they should be investing more budget in interactive formats to support their TV campaigns and encourage measurable engagement.
 
Jogia 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.”

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