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The christmas credit crunch

The christmas credit crunch

Traditionally the season of goodwill and giving, Christmas 2008 is going to be much more of a frugal affair and it is colleagues and close friends who will feel the brunt of the economic downturn, according to the latest research commissioned by 

The survey, carried out by Empathy Research, showed that people are already spending less on luxuries and this is likely to continue into the festive season. A third of those surveyed admitted that they would exclude friends, people they work with and even close family members from their Christmas present list as they are now an additional ‘luxury’.

However there is some good news for the brands who offer an online alternative. One in five respondents admitted they would be increasing the amount they would be spending online this year and 58% said they would be doing more than half of their Christmas shopping online .

Whilst price is the over-riding factor influencing a decision on whether to buy online or on the high street, delivery charges, availability and other added-value elements are nearly as important. And two thirds of shoppers said that they could be swayed in their decision by special offers and promotions.

So brands who engage with online audiences will be more likely to benefit from this change in consumer sentiment. But they need to do it soon – nearly 80% of people will have already started Christmas shopping before 1st December.

Throughout the year customers have been turning to cheaper alternatives and stores ‘own’ brands and this trend will continue for the festive season. Brands in the fashion sector stand to miss out the most on this trend. More than half of respondents stated they will be spending less on fashion outfits over the festive period than last year.

Brands need to find a way of actively engaging with their audience in a way that is sympathetic to this new sentiment. Using a site like which allows brands to have access to a dedicated audience allows them to deliver their message to a target audience that is already responsive to commercial messaging and which can be coupled with promotional techniques such as coupons and special offers.”

Gareth Lambe, MD of comments on these findings: “If brands want to make sure that they make the most of Christmas 2008 they need to: have a visible online presence , engage their target audience consumers as soon as possible and use special offers to maintain brand loyalty;. If these three steps are followed it might not be such a festive free season after all.”

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