Marks & Spencer pips Boots and John Lewis as top of the Christmas shops


Marks & Spencer is the nation’s favourite Christmas shop, with nearly a third of Brits planning to spend the most there this December.


The study, from Rakuten Marketing, indicates that consumers placed Boots in second position and John Lewis in third place, citing that they will spend the most on gifts at these stores.

The independent report reveals the top five is as follows:

1. Marks & Spencer (28%)
2. Boots (25%)
3. John Lewis (17%)
4. Next (10%)
5. House of Fraser

Marks & Spencer has been named the nation’s favourite Christmas shop, with nearly a third of Brits planning to spend the most there this December.

The findings also show that despite the success of Buster the Dog and Mrs. Claus ads, only 27% of people will make a purchase based on the brands’ TV adverts and following Brexit, over half of respondents said they care most about buying from British brands.

Key findings

• Shoppers plan to spend the most at Marks & Spencer, Boots, John Lewis, Next and House of Fraser this Christmas

• Only 27% of British consumers make gift purchase decisions based on a brand’s Christmas TV ad campaign

• Over half (51%) of consumers will prioritise buying British this festive season post-Brexit vote

The Christmas ads we all look forward to

The findings also show that despite top retailers including John Lewis spending a whopping £7 million on Christmas TV campaigns this year[1], only 27% of people will make a purchase based on the brands’ TV adverts.

Although we eagerly await the release of the large Christmas ads, it forces marketers to ask if they should be investing more marketing budget in interactive formats to support their TV campaigns and encourage measurable engagement.

Over a third of consumers (33%) said that they are more likely to make a decision about where to buy gifts by browsing on brands’ websites to source information, so driving traffic from publishers is essential. Word of mouth is also still one of the most important sources of information for consumers, with over a third of respondents (31%) listening to advice from friends and family about where to purchase from. In addition, a fifth (20%) of shoppers are influenced by window displays, suggesting that location targeted display ads could help to drive potential customers in store to a sale.

Rakhee Jogia, Regional Director of Rakuten Display Europe at Rakuten Marketing comments: “TV ad campaigns alone are not driving sales. However, when part of a wider digital marketing campaign they can be extremely effective. It’s important that brands build interactive formats into their ads that connect broadcast with targeted mobile ads for example. In addition, brands need to be able to measure the impact of TV in the context of the whole path to purchase. The journey to a sale is complex and marketers need sight of how each of their individual channels and campaigns are working together to drive consumers towards a sale.”
Buying British

Following the vote for Brexit, over half (51%) of respondents said that they care about ‘buying from British brands’ and will prioritise them over other non-UK brands. British brands should ensure that they target the ‘grey pound’ as loyalty to buying British increases to nearly 60% amongst the over 60s.

Jogia comments, “WPP recently reported Brexit anxiety saying that advertisers are hesitant to spend on ad dollars. However, our data suggests that British brands can capitalise on the desire to buy British. Now is the time to invest in branding and campaigns that solidify the ‘best of British’ message in order to gain loyalty from customers.”

Keeping customers happy before and after Christmas

84% of respondents plan to carry on spending in the stores they have purchased Christmas gifts from, after the Christmas season has ended. This indicates that if a brand can secure sales at Christmas, they are likely to win loyalty throughout the rest of the year.

Postage and packaging costs is most likely to turn shoppers away from a brand; 35% of consumers won’t spend money with a brand online that adds this cost on, whilst a staggering 50% are more likely to spend with a brand if their delivery costs are free.

23% of shoppers say that loyalty points redeemable against future purchase incentivise them to spend more online, showing the value of keeping a customer once they have invested in a brand. For 44% of consumers the awareness of voucher codes, such as a 10% discount, can prompt them to purchase more highlighting the power of incentives.

Jogia continues, “The fact that people are more likely to shop with a brand all year round if they have made a purchase in December means marketers must work particularly hard this quarter to win brand loyalty. They can add value to the customer experience they provide by working with rewards and loyalty partners. Showing a customer that a brand values their custom and advocacy builds a strong relationship.”


Rakuten Marketing conducted research with Morar Research among 2,000 consumers across the UK about their loyalty to both legacy and emerging brands in fashion, luxury, department stores and lifestyle. The study noted the ages of all respondents and included several open-ended questions to investigate the most popular brands today and perceptions of how some of the most recognisable retailers have changed and evolved in recent years.

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