2018 Christmas Retail Trends That Will Impact Retail Displays in a Big Way 

Christmas is coming. And each year the festive season inevitably brings with it reams of wrapping paper and even larger reams of brand-new retail trends. We’ve identified four standout trends that have caught our attention. Plus, we examine how they will impact and shape retail displays. 

There’s good news. The outlook is looking bright for point-of-sale displays.  For Tecna UK, there’s always an influx of requests for point-of-sale displays. And Christmas ‘18 is no different. That is to say, purchasing behaviour is shifting and the retail experience is evolving, but retail stands are definitely still in high demand 

1. Traditional Shopping Channels Remain Strong Over Christmas

Scepticism surrounding the future of in-store shopping and fuelled by a rise in online purchases can be debunked this Christmas. Why? Because the majority of consumer transactions over Christmas this year will still occur in store.

In fact, in-store purchases will constitute around 58% of all purchases as reported by Deloitte. On top of that, 55% of all purchasing decisions are made in-store before buying online (Retail Dive).  

Yes, in-store shopping figures have fallen victim to sceptical forecasts. But, the truth is, consumers still crave the physical experience of wandering around traditional bricks-and-mortar stores. They like to peruse their panoply of festive gifts, says Tecna UK’s Marketing Manager, Nicole Pickford. 

And because a huge portion of Christmas spend still takes place in stores, we can expect to see more retail displays populating the retail space. 

“Everything from festive window displays to other visual merchandising displays will populate high street stores. And this will be to accommodate and entice the swathes of high street shoppers and compete for their share of in-store Christmas spend, adds Nicole.  

2. Overall Supermarket Sales Soar but In-Store Growth Slows

Christmas 2018 is the most wonderful time of year for supermarkets, with food sales racing ahead of all other sectors

2017’s “Golden Quarter” saw a Christmas grocery spend boost of £500 million up from the same period in the previous year. This Christmas seefood sales rise to £18.6 billion up 3.3% from last year, beating out inflation. However, even though supermarkets soar ahead in terms of overalls sales, growth in-store has slowed  

With in-store sales slumpingthe pressure is mounting on supermarkets to invest in promotional point-of-sale displays to push products:

Consumers are moving to online shopping. As a channel, it offers holiday shoppers convenience and speed of purchase. To emulate this experience in physical stores, supermarkets will be seeking to populate their stores with a higher volume of point-of-sale displays. And they’ll be strategically positioning them to decrease shopping time, up convenience and encourage impulse buying.   

3. In Search of that Human Touch

Despite living in a digital world, the preference for in-person human interactions is still an enduring one.

A recent study by Calabrio on the customer experience found that of 3000 consumers in the U.S. and U.K. 79% would rather interact with a human when shopping over an online chat service. A further 74% said their loyalty towards a business was correlated with their access to a human helper. Such a demand for human interaction is at no time more important than Christmas.  

 

“Christmas has always been doggedly marketed as the period of the year for connecting with loved ones and revelling in the company of others,” says Tecna UK’s Marketing Manager, Nicole Pickford. 

“And the impersonal nature of online shopping and standard product-pushing tactics are incompatible with such practices. With competition rife at this time of the year, brands hoping to cut through the marketing miasma and gain some of that exclusive consumer mind-share will be looking to accommodate meaningful, personalised interactions. All of this in a bid to satiate the consumer desire for that “human touch”. 

In pursuit of this human-centric approach, Christmas strategies will revolve around facilitating and promoting said interactions. Help stations, rather than help forums, where consumers can ask retailers their burning questions. Sample stations as well – giving customers the chance to test products and ask questions in real time.   

4. Big Brands are Making Big Investments in Experiential

This year experiential marketing has become a core focus for retailers, with a survey carried out by Econsultancy finding that content and experience management are a top strategic priority. And experiential ventures will continue to feature at the forefront of retail strategies over Christmas.

 

“More money is being pumped into orchestrating experiences for shoppers to drive them into physical stores. If physical brick-and-mortar stores want shoppers to choose the in-store experience over buying online, they need to become more than just a point of sale – they need to be become an experience.” 

To reach the experiential value that they hope to achieve, visual merchandising, forward-thinking technology and interactive displays are rising in demand as they are a great way to spark conversation and get people engaged and excited. Amongst the mix: pop-up shops, portable bars, sampling stations, and interactive gimmicks will be making regular appearances; VR and AR also lend themselves nicely to experiential marketing approaches.  

Take Coke’s clever experiential Christmas marketing campaign where they encouraged participants to shovel snow into a Coke snow machine in exchange for a flurry of snow; or WestJet’s interactive Santa stint four years ago that garnered 48 million views on YouTube – memories and experiences get people talking, they get people interested – they get people buying!