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Customer Expectations: Christmas 2020

Report available to download.

Anne Zahan, Strategy Director

by Anne Zahan, Strategy Director

Core Strategy

This is a an extract from the full Christmas 2020 report available to download below.


Core · Anne Zahan – Christmas 2020 Expectations – KCLR The Bottom Line


How should brands respond to an adapted Christmas? 

As with all celebrations that occurred over the course of COVID-19 (birthdays, marriages, births, graduations, etc.), Christmas too will be scaled back to its simplest form this year.

What we now know, is that this new type of celebration gives us some fresh perspective on what is important. Instead of focusing on gifts, parties, and photos ‘capturing’ the moment, we are encouraged to acknowledge the true meaning behind the celebration.

As people re-prioritise to fit this new reality, brands must acknowledge and adapt to the new way of thinking. Only 34% of people approve of how large companies are handling COVID-19, compared to 72% of people who approve of local shops and business. The need for brands to strike the right tone becomes even more important. Something that is well documented at this stage, but will be increasingly relevant during the Christmas season, is that brands need to be set up to fulfil orders online. While this is arguably the most important thing a brand should do for the season, there are three more ways brands can adapt to consumer needs this year.

1. Empathy over excess
Brands should move away from communication that encourages over-spending, and instead focus on the reality that COVID-19 has put us in. Although we know that consumers are still going to spend this Christmas, they will do so with brands and companies who show their values are aligned with their own.

Brands should acknowledge the renewed sense of importance we have put on our loved ones, and show that there are people – with the same values we have – behind the brand.

Brands should also see if they can provide more practical support for an adapted Christmas. For example, can they facilitate gifting by making it easier or more personal? This could take the shape of being able to order a gift online to be sent directly to the recipient, with a ‘handwritten’ note from the sender.

2. Support local
There has been a significant shift towards supporting local since the start of COVID-19. We will see this behaviour magnified during Christmas, when people’s generosity will be heightened and at the same time many local products will be in demand.
Brands need to remind consumers about their support of the Irish economy, while others can work with Irish partners and suppliers.

3. Practice what you preach
As with anything during this time, people will be looking for brands to do not just say. If brands are encouraging people to think of the less fortunate, they must be willing to donate to a cause that support those in vulnerable groups. Brands who have charity partners, as part of CSR initiatives, should not only facilitate the public supporting these charities, but support them in meaningful ways as well.





📸 Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

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