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Record Christmas ad-spend, but any festive trends or surprises?

A record £9.5bn is expected to be spent by advertisers this Christmas, according to new data released by the Advertising Association and WARC.

This marks a 4.8% increase from last year’s record spend.

“The spend on Xmas ads by advertisers demonstrates how competitive the market is and just how hard retailers are working to gain share this year,” Catherine Shuttleworth, retail specialist and CEO of Leeds’ Savvy Marketing told Prolific North.

“The battle for customer numbers 2023  is epic – if consumers are spending less then you’ve got to try grab what money they have got.”

The battle for the Christmas TV ad continues to gain headlines, not least today, with John Lewis’ festive venus fly trap.

“This year there’s a feast of celebration in the Xmas ads and a couple of key themes are emerging. The theme of traditions old and new have emerged in the M&S and John Lewis ads sparking national debate – which shows just how important traditions are,” Shuttleworth added.

“This is even more critical in 2023 when cash strapped families are looking at ways of stretching a limited Christmas budget without missing out on beloved family moments be that crackers, advent calendars or even missing out on Christmas pudding – we know from our Savvy shopper panel that two thirds of shoppers are planning to spend less on gifts and a staggering 61% will plan to spend less on food.” 

So, has there been a winner this year and have their been any surprises?

“For me it’s a bit early to say as the best campaigns develop over November and December but the Asda Buble campaign is shaping up strongly,” continued Shuttleworth.

“There are few surprises. For me I’m only surprised that there are so many ads when for many brands spend would be more effective in activations directly with the brands most loyal shoppers. If you haven’t got huge media budgets to execute ads across all channels there’s a big risk your comms this Xmas just won’t get seen. Younger shoppers in particular will be looking elsewhere. 

“The John Lewis ad needs watching a few times before you get it. I think it will build well but what matters ultimately  is will it deliver in terms of sales and customer numbers to John Lewis. Let’s hope that’s the case. I’ve been instore today to look at how it fits in with their overall Xmas plans and I think that’s what counts a campaign that works instore, on line and on the move.”

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