YouTube forecasts a ‘Fright before Christmas’ as consumers rein in festive spending

Christmas is going to be a worrying time for marketers as the world appears to go from bad to worse, especially perhaps in the UK as the Government has compounded global difficulties with its recent ham-fisted “mini-budget.” New chancellor Jeremy Hunt is promising “eye-watering” cuts and tax increases, which is obviously going to make people feel better.

Those businesses banking on a big Christmas uplift – like Waitrose, part of John Lewis (above), the UK’s flagship festive advertiser – will be worrying about prospects. Advertising expense is compounded this year by the FIFA World Cup in Qatar which finishes deep into December. Commercial TV channels at least should benefit.

Consumers will probably be playing “secret Santa,” cutting back their expenditure to pre-determined limits. That seems to be the message from some new research by Channel Factory – described as the “global brand suitability platform for YouTube” – which reports that 76% of UK consumers say they will spend less this Christmas.

Other findings are that for 72% price is the main consideration (same thing really); 58% will seek more brand promotions and 39% will give presents to the same people, just not such big ones.

Worryingly for Waitrose and its peers, 44% say they intend to spend less on food and booze. 36% say they are inclined to put something on their shopping list if they see an ad on YouTube. – says YouTube.

The only real certainty is that Christmas is going to be a challenge with cost of living rises like heating and mortgages set to grab the headlines, leaving those people who are spending feeling rather bad about it. A real challenge for the UK’s big Christmas advertisers who have probably already made their ads featuring people scoffing themselves half to death in the cosiest of surroundings. Doubt that food banks will feature too strongly.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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