Weve’s Primary Christmas & Retail Research 2017

Dashing through the Christmas purchase journey

20 November 2017

Danny Saba, Marketing & Research Executive at Weve, dashes through the purchase journey of today’s Christmas consumer (who they are and what, where, when and why they’re buying), while unwrapping mobile’s role in this all-important retail window.


Like a star atop a Christmas tree, mobile and Christmas were meant to be. This year, 92% of consumers used their mobiles when preparing for Christmas – up 7% YOY. This means the time is now to understand the mobile behaviours of consumers during this period.

Perhaps then, Weve’s Primary Christmas & Retail Research 2017 will be the best present you’ll receive this year to help you unwrap the Christmas purchase journey: get comfortable as we dash through key findings from the report just in time for Christmas. 

What’s that bright red light in the distance? No, it’s not Rudolph’s red nose – it’s more likely Coca Cola’s iconic TV Christmas ad, signalling the official start of the Christmas period. As a slew of Christmas ads make their way on to traditional mediums, our Christmas consumer is likely just beginning their purchase journey (our research shows that consumers start planning Christmas around November 8th). Prior to this, consumers won’t have a particular product in mind (beyond their initial consideration set), but with the hundreds of messages consumers receive every day, it’s imperative to cut through the noise. 

Driving Christmas ad recall is therefore essential at this stage, as half of consumers agree that advertising helps shape their Christmas purchases. Perhaps unsurprisingly, our primary research found that TV drove the highest recall for Christmas ads, followed by mobile1 (including mobile web, in-app and SMS): mobile is also considered the most important device for browsing for gift inspiration2 (vs tablet, desktop and even going in-store). 

And as a device that’s present at almost every media moment, mobile is the perfect device to amplify Christmas stories on other channels, particularly with TV and OOH. After all, consumers use a combination of different channels for gift inspiration: while most will turn to the internet on their mobile, many still rely on recommendations from friends and family, increasingly through social media. Even the traditional Christmas wish list makes the cut for another year! 3

Once our Christmas consumer has taken an action (like a click-through or a search), they’re in the consideration stage: they have some idea about what they want to buy but are unsure about models, specifications, brands or retailers. At this research stage, consumers are increasingly turning to their mobiles to find deals, check apps, and read reviews to make better-informed decisions4, and consider their mobiles the most important device for doing so5.

But whether it’s the eye-catching Christmas decorations or the ever-tempting allure of nearby Christmas markets, consumers still enjoy the experience of going in store: older demographics in particular like to see items before they buy them6: some browse online and then purchase in-store, while others find inspiration in-store and then find a better deal online. At these crucial stages, it’s important to understand consumer behavioural patterns through mobile data, to target them at the moments that most influence their decisions.

Halfway through our consumers’ journey takes us to the intent stage, where our Christmas consumer has been seen in store or, increasingly, added a product to their online basket. Mobile has well and truly disrupted the in-store customer journey, as two-thirds try to avoid the shops the closer it gets to Christmas, and prefer to shop from the comfort of their own home7. And why wouldn’t they? Now they can check stock levels, compare prices and browse for the latest deals instantly. 

But consumers are doing this on their mobiles when they’re in-store, too, searching for nearby retailers, deals, and competitors. Accessing accurate location data is critical at this stage as the majority of consumers find messages regarding local, relevant offers useful: if you can understand where people are in real time and where they have frequently visited in conjunction with their home location, you can serve relevant, targeted and useful messages to drive an immediate action.

And while the majority of retail transactions are made in stores, mobile is taking an increasing share of Christmas commerce. In fact, our research found just over half of all Christmas spend last year was through mobile (skewing towards mobile web) with 69% of consumers purchasing Christmas gift on their mobiles, and at the top of their wish lists were clothing, toys, electrical items, music and DVDs, games, and beauty products8. 

Overall, consumers spent an average of £479 on presents last Christmas (up 3%), but half continue to look for deals on Christmas Day. 

But you don’t have to wait for Christmas day to open all your presents – Weve’s gift to you is available right now – The full Weve Primary Christmas & Retail Research 2017. 

Remember, all of this Christmas cheer is made possible thanks to Weve’s base of 23m adults and the billions of network events they see each day as part of a telco – providing us access to an unprecedented access to a nationally representative primary research base and allowing for robust market and sector insight into consumer behaviours and journeys.

Until next year, Merry Christmas!

Weve Primary Christmas & Retail Research 2017

Base n = 2,456 UK smartphone owners

January 2017


180% of consumers recall TV ads, followed by 50% mobile, 31% tablet, 25% outdoor and 16% cinema.

2 63% consider mobile the most important device for browsing for gift inspiration, versus desktop (13%), tablet (20%) and even going in store (5%). 

3 Some of the top mediums for gift inspiration include the internet (84%) friends and family (39%), social media (34%) and Christmas wish lists (29%) and going in-store (59%).

4 59% of consumers use their mobile to look for deals, 64% compare prices, 37% used a retailer/shopping app, 55% read reviews about a product.

5 57% of consumers consider mobile the most important device for researching, comparing products online versus desktop (17%), tablet (23%) and going in store (2%).

6 54% of consumers like to see items before they buy them.

7 62% of consumers prefer to shop for Christmas presents from the comfort of their own home and 72% try to avoid the shops the closer it gets to Christmas.

8 Gift buying on mobile: 61% clothing shoes & accessories, 49% toys, 49% electrical items, 47% Music, DVDs & Games, 44% beauty products 

Base n = 2,456 UK smartphone owners

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