Marks & Spencer pips Boots and John Lewis to be crowned top of the Christmas shops, Rakuten Marketing research shows


New independent research from digital marketing company, Rakuten Marketing, reveals that Marks & Spencer is the nation’s favourite Christmas shop, with nearly a third of Brits planning to spend the most there this December.

Consumers placed Boots in second position and John Lewis in third place, citing that they will spend the most on gifts at these stores. The top five is as follows:

  • Marks & Spencer (28%)
  • Boots (25%)
  • John Lewis (17%)
  • Next (10%)
  • House of Fraser

The Christmas ads we all look forward to

The findings also show that despite top retailers including John Lewis spending a whopping £7m on Christmas TV campaigns this year, only 27% of people will make a purchase based on the brands’ TV adverts.

Although we eagerly await the release of the large Christmas ads, it forces marketers to ask if they should be investing more marketing budget in interactive formats to support their TV campaigns and encourage measurable engagement.

Over a third of consumers (33%) said that they are more likely to make a decision about where to buy gifts by browsing on brands’ websites to source information, so driving traffic from publishers is essential. 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 location targeted display ads could help to drive potential customers in store to a sale.

Rakhee Jogia, regional director of Rakuten Display Europe at 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.”

Buying British

Following the vote for Brexit, over half (51%) of respondents said that they care about ‘buying from British brands’ and will prioritise them over other non-UK brands. British brands should ensure that they target the ‘grey pound’ as loyalty to buying British increases to nearly 60% amongst the over 60s.

Jogia comments: “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.”

Keeping customers happy before and after Christmas

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, they are likely to win loyalty throughout the rest of the year.

Postage and packaging costs is most likely to turn shoppers away from a brand; 35% of consumers won’t spend money with a brand online that adds this cost on, whilst a staggering 50% are more likely to spend with a brand if their delivery costs are free.

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. 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.

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 they provide by working with rewards and loyalty partners. Showing a customer that a brand values their custom and advocacy builds a strong relationship.”