The world’s top 10 Christmas window displays revealed

Christmas is one of the busiest times for retailers all over the world, and for customers, it’s the best time of year to stroll through high streets to view the lavishly decorated festive windows on display. 

Following a 118% increase in interest for the search term “Christmas window display” from October to November 2021¹, a new study from glass manufacturer Specialist Glass Products delves into the most popular Christmas window displays among department stores across the world. 

The new ranking is based on search data insight for terms including “Christmas window display”². According to the study, the top ten department stores that have the best Christmas window display list are: 

  1. Harrods, UK
  2. Saks 5th Avenue, NYC
  3. Tiffany, NYC
  4. Selfridges, UK 
  5. Bergdorf Goodman, NYC
  6. Harvey Nichols, UK 
  7. Bloomingdales, NYC
  8. Cartier, NYC
  9. Macys, NYC 
  10. Ogilvy’s, Montreal

The new research indicates that Harrods, the famous department store located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London, has the best Christmas window display across the globe, with the average search volume for terms relating to its display reaching over 1,700 monthly searches. The UK department store is famed for selling luxury goods, with the most expensive item ever sold being a pair of shoes worth £1.6 million. 

Worth over £2.2 billion, Harrods unquestionably has a large budget to spend on their festive displays. With this in mind, it’s clear how Harrods can curate one of the world’s most desirable Christmas window displays. This year’s theme is “Witness a Spectacle” centred on a feasting table that stretches across its storefront. Each window includes a QR code, which visitors can scan and watch the table displays come to life.

Taking second place is Saks Fifth Avenue, an American luxury department store located on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Over the Christmas period, NYC will see millions of tourists heading to the city to soak up the festive atmosphere, and it’s also an excellent opportunity to see the outstanding Christmas window displays Fifth Avenue offers. This year, Saks theme is “reconnecting with family and loved ones during the holiday season”. Saks asked children in New York to draw and describe what they dream of doing with loved ones at Christmas to bring this theme to life³. 

An iconic luxury retailer known for its fine jewellery, the Tiffany store in NYC comes third on the list for the best Christmas window displays in the world. The Fifth Avenue store is famed for its extravagant Christmas decorations and has previously wowed passersby with whimsical tributes to important Tiffany figures, such as artistic director Gene Moore. This year, Tiffany NYC has opened a temporary pop up store to celebrate the Christmas season⁴. With gold stars and theatrical lighting, the store is a festive fan’s dream. 

Fourth on the list is Selfridges. The retailer launched ‘Christmas of Dreams’ across stores in London, Birmingham and Manchester, and on selfridges.com, with a digital campaign starring actress Jane Horrocks⁵. This year’s theme presents an enchanted dream world, blending creative references, from the golden age of Hollywood to classic 1950’s technicolour film musicals.

Bergdorf Goodman, a luxury retailer, based in NYC, makes the top five list for the best Christmas window displays. According to Bergdorf’s senior director of visual presentation, it can take up to ten months to design the Christmas display and 17 days to install⁶. This year’s theme is “The Present Moment”, which depicts joyous moments frozen in time where whimsical characters are seen “in the moment”⁷. 

Senior account manager at Kolorcraft, Emma Ramsey, comments on the study: “Many medium to large UK retailers start planning their Christmas window displays in January (some even earlier!), whilst smaller or independent retailers tend to begin their preparations closer to Autumn. 

“Budgets will differ from retailer to retailer, but Christmas window displays are recognised as an important way to attract customers. In addition to drawing customers into their store, retailers will also aim to develop and reinforce their wider brand image as a result of their Christmas window display and Christmas marketing.

“In terms of what retailers should include in their display, it’s important to take your customers on a journey. Many retailers use nostalgia or emotion to draw customers’ attention and current trends, text, and layers; for example, vinyl on the window, central items and a backdrop or even 3D display. The best windows often incorporate storytelling and keep this theme running through the rest of the retailer’s shop and messaging (even if this is only done with colour choices, it will still add to the customer’s experience).” 

Andrew Taylor, managing director of Specialist Glass Products, adds: “When retailers have chosen what their Christmas display will entail, retailers must choose the appropriate glass for their Christmas window so they can be viewed in the best possible quality. 

“A type of glass that has become popular in 2021 is ‘Clearsight’, which ensures quality and no reflection in windows. Clearsight has an anti-reflective coating that minimises glare and significantly reduces any light reflection to less than 1%, which is a massive difference compared to the 8% on conventional glass. Due to Clearsight glass having no reflection, any Christmas display would appear crystal clear. 

“In terms of the style of windows used, it depends on what the retailer sells. For example, in a jewellery store where the product would be considered a high consideration purchase, the store would benefit from windows leading customers through the front door. However, clothing retailers looking to reflect a Christmas scene in their windows may benefit from a bay window so that customers can see the Christmas scene and products clearly

“To encourage foot traffic through the door, retailers should focus on ensuring their Christmas display tells a story rather than making it look too ‘salesy’. People are drawn in when a display takes you on a journey, and as long as the glass used is clear and non-reflective, retailers should be onto a winner!”

To find out more about creating the ultimate Christmas window display and to view the full top ten list, please visit: https://www.specialistglass.co.uk/how-to-create-the-best-retail-christmas-window-displays/