Selling yourself to the Christmas crowd

Every Christmas some shoppers get in early and others don’t start until Christmas Eve. BRIAN ROCK looks at the differences between shoppers, and suggests effective ways to target them.

Infographic_CHRISTMAS_DIGITALStrategies and tactics for targeting shoppers

Organised shoppers

  • They’re active shoppers, so it’s not hard to get them to spend. The challenge is in getting the brand or retailer on the shopping list. Offers matter.
  • The November/early December period is the key period for this group. Use this time to promote
    • immediate sales, using special offers to reward them for shopping early, and
    • more strategically, pushing the exciting and high-ticket gift ideas that may require more time and thought.
  • Mid-December to Christmas Eve is still important; few people do all their shopping early, and undecided buyers can be nudged to shop for the more expensive items on the list.
  • Local newspapers are especially useful, both for local retailers and for brand advertisers promoting local businesses.

Last minute shoppers

  • The strategic advertising is different. Advertising early helps build momentum, but rely on late reminders to close the sales.
  • In November/early December offers are less important, but getting/keeping the brand top-of-mind is critical, as is strong branding.
  • Closer to Christmas gift ideas become more important. Make it easy for them. Promoting low-risk big-selling gift ideas from mid-December is a powerful tactic.
  • Ads in local newspapers make it easier to find those last-minute gifts without too much effort.


For retailers Christmas starts in November.  Last November department store sales jumped up 14 per cent on the previous month, while December figures added a phenomenal 63 per cent to the November numbers, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Australians could spend $40 billion over the six weeks leading up to Christmas, so it’s essential for retailers to make the most of their pre-Christmas marketing.

Gift-buying isn’t the only reason people shop over the Christmas period. Celebrations require food and drink, and even big-ticket items like cars are bought over the holidays. Still, shopping for presents drives most retail activity up to Christmas, and offers opportunities (and challenges) for retailers.

A valuable approach is to think in terms of the types of Christmas shoppers: who is most likely to buy at the beginning of the Christmas retail period, and who is most likely to start shopping in the last week. We can create profiles in emma (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia) to gauge how these segments differ, and look for insights into how to target them.

  • Organised shoppers

The ones most likely to buy early are active shoppers (shop in a department store at least once/month), are more organised (disagree/strongly disagree that “I can be disorganised and careless”), and “love to shop”.

  • Last minute shoppers

At the other end of the spectrum are less active shoppers (51 per cent shop at a department store less than once/month) are disorganised (agree/strongly agree that “I can be disorganised and careless”), and categorically “do not love to shop”.

Organised shoppers. A retailer’s dream.

There are more than 2.6 million in this segment, which is skewed towards women (70%). They shop more often, so while they only make up one in six (16%) of department store shoppers, they account for almost one-third (31%) of department store visits.

Attitudinally they are active, engaging people who:

  • Like to keep up with the latest trends (44% more likely than the average person 14+)
  • Like to try new experiences and products (22% more likely)
  • Are extroverted and enthusiastic (14% above average)

They’re also above-average spenders, especially on luxuries and indulgences:

  • Grocery: +6 per cent above the average spend
  • Furniture/homewares: +22 per cent
  • Clothing: +23 per cent
  • Cosmetics/fragrances: +26 per cent

Organised shoppers prefer local retailers, with 4 out of 5 (80%) saying they try to shop locally.


Last minute shoppers. Harder to motivate, but still important.

Last minute shoppers make up similar numbers (2.8 million), but are mainly male (66%).

They are harder for retailers to engage, but they can (and do) still spend.

Last minute shoppers represent one-sixth (15%) of department store shoppers, but only 1/8th (12%) of department store visits.

They want to put in as little effort as possible, are more likely to be quiet and reserved, and often less sociable – but they are inclined to be more imaginative than average.

  • I do just enough work to get by (56 per cent more likely)
  • I am quiet and reserved (12 per cent more likely)
  • I can be critical and quarrelsome (37 per cent more likely!)
  • I have an active imagination (8 per cent more likely!)

Although they spend less in many categories, they’re close to the norm in groceries, and above average in entertainment and tech buying:

  • Furniture/homewares: -15 per cent
  • Clothing: -15 per cent
  • Grocery: 5 per cent below average
  • Books/music/DVDs: 3 per cent above average
  • IT: +7 per cent

Last minute shoppers are less likely to shop locally than organised shoppers, but three-quarters (75 per cent) still say they prefer to.

Myer 6 days to ChristmasMyer 5 day  4 days to Christmas

Newspaper reading similar, but with key differences

Organised shoppers are fairly typical newspaper readers. Each week 69 per cent read a newspaper in print or online, compared with the average of 68 per cent, which makes them easy to reach with retail advertising.

Last minute shoppers’ newspaper reading is close to the average, with 66 per cent reading at least one newspaper in the last week. They’re lighter readers than organised shoppers – 30 per cent of organised shoppers are heavy readers (7 or more issues per week) compared to 26 per cent of disorganised shoppers – so it may take slightly longer to reach them.

Organised shoppers are also above-average fans of local newspapers. Most (59%) say they look forward to reading their local newspaper, and a greater percentage (70%) say that local newspapers are their main source of information about what is going on in their local area, 6 per cent above average.

Last minute shoppers are less interested in local newspapers, although half of them look forward to reading the local newspaper, and 60 per cent consider local newspapers their main source of information about their local area.



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