Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum

Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum

Article excerpt

Do brands benefit from kick-starting the Christmas season this early?

Decking the stores with holly in September may be seen as shameless exploitation by retailers - or a thoughtful way to help cash-strapped consumers buy their festive delights in affordable stages.

YES - GWYN BURR, CUSTOMER DIRECTOR, SAINSBURY'S

The bottom line is that any brand will benefit from giving its customers what they want, when they want it.

So far as Christmas at Sainsbury's is concerned, that doesn't mean decking out our stores with decorations in September, but it does mean that over the next few weeks customers will be able to buy a selection of seasonal confectionery, cards and gift wrap.

We do this every year and customers do buy them. It's not hard to work out why - it's a great way for busy people to spread the workload and the cost of Christmas over time. They plan ahead - buy cards and gift wrap this week, Christmas cake next week, presents over the next few months and fresh food in December.

It's a brilliant way to budget and, as it can all be done as part of a regular grocery shop, it doesn't take up a huge amount of precious time.

Talking of food, our improved-recipe mince pies have been on sale for a few days and are flying off the shelves.

MAYBE - IAN MCLERNON, COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR, PARFUMS CHRISTIAN DIOR, UK & IRELAND

The media say Christmas gets earlier every year. However, for the past two years it has seemed to get later, with the last three shopping days being the most hectic - and where the challenge is ensuring product is on the shelves.

Many international tourists start shopping for Christmas in August, magnified in London this year by the attractiveness of the pound versus the euro, so clients in key department stores bought early and stocked up.

Christmas as a season is focused on gifting, and it's true that consumers are using gifting occasions more frequently than ever Mother's, Father's and Valentine's Days are becoming more significant, meaning that brands must have a gift offer throughout the year and not just at Christmas.

At Dior, we offer a luxury gifting service all year and can provide clients with a Christmas gift at any time.

The reality is that consumers determine when Christmas starts. It's not retailers or brands pushing Christmas in August - it's as simple as good, old-fashioned consumer demand.

NO - DAVID BAINBRIDGE, VICE-CHAIRMAN, MCBD

This Christmas there will be many hard-pressed consumers who might welcome the chance to spread out their purchases over a longer period. …

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