Ah, Christmas – a pressure-cooker period of time even in the best of circumstances. Consumer demand and expectation is at an all-time high, while seasonal products and collections are pushed in order to achieve the highest possible profit. This year however, Christmas isn’t looking quite so joyous. Many of us continue to stare into a social and economic black hole, with no real expectation of what is yet to come. In order to bring seasonal happiness and prosperity to both the consumer and small brand alike, what can be done to save it?
There’s no way of getting around it – Christmas is going to be a massive uphill challenge for the brick-and-mortar store. Without knowing what further local and national restrictions could be set to be introduced, it’s extremely difficult to plan for what might be to come. Adding to that, it’s also tricky to gauge the consumer confidence in returning to the store itself, although it could be said that as more time passes and restrictions continue, there will be a peak in eagerness to return to doing the things that feel more ‘fun’ or out of the lockdown ordinary. That being said, small brand sales will ultimately come down to how much money the consumer has to spend, and with unemployment figures expected to rise in the seasonal lead-up, consumers will be sure to be more informed and diligent than ever.
Although the overall outlook is rather gloomy, there are some forms of strategy that can be put in place. The impact of Black Friday this year is looking to be extended even further than the week-long online event it has become – possibly even into early November. With consumers looking to save and capitalise on deals, it is likely to have an extremely successful impact, though bears the possibility of creating ‘discount fatigue’. In the same style, we know that online and digital spending is going to make up the majority of profit and brand-consumer interactions, and we also know that – if successfully implemented – lockdown logistics can be handled extremely well. Here is where the largest part of the brand battleground needs to take place, with the supply chain needing to consider how to be the most efficient while adhering to warehouse distancing during the Christmas peak.
The one thing we can almost certainly rely on is that, despite income, consumers will be wanting to bring the Christmas joy into their lives, creating memories and an experience that will give 2020 the happier ending it sorely deserve. In the case of products, Christmas socialising will be sure to take a different and perhaps entirely digital form, leaving the door open for consumers to carry on with the habit of spending on dressing to socialise. Christmas leisurewear and jumpers for all the family look to spearhead popularity (such as Anton Dell brand Jule Sweaters), with the marketing objective being to marry a product or range to an experience shared. Within this massively promotional year, any kind of traditional dynamics are now not likely to cut it.
Photo source: Jule Sweaters