Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: Marketing Society - Retail Has Ruined Christmas

Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: Marketing Society - Retail Has Ruined Christmas

Article excerpt

The early results are out and it looks like this Christmas was the poorest in terms of trading in 10 years. The big question is why - is it just a one-off blip or something more fundamental?

If the Future Foundation's nVision research is right, and I believe it is, then the signs are that Christmas has reached a tipping point. The biggest and longest-running promotional event in history is in serious trouble.

There are three main reasons for this. First, there is the decline in religious observance. Second, retailer greed has destroyed the focus of the promotion. Third, customers are increasingly disaffected and marketing-savvy.

The disarray in the Church of England has been widely documented, so there is no need to reiterate its divisions and leadership problems here.

But it is worth pointing out the catastrophic effect these problems have had on the customer base for the Christmas 'brand'. As the symbolic power of Christmas has dwindled from a religious perspective, the idea of celebrating Christmas with gifts to loved ones to mirror God's gift of Christ to the world is simply no longer relevant and motivating to the vast majority of people.

Meanwhile, retailers have become excessively commercial in their approach to Christmas, and their customers see this. Festive promotions start earlier every year in short-term tactical attempts to steal a march on the competition.

All this has done is break the long-term conventions of Christmas, dilute its magic and stretch its motivating power to the point where it is largely broken. …

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