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Planning for Christmas

  • Date:

    14 July 2023

Planning for Christmas

It may feel like ages away but planning for Christmas is underway by clients, agencies and consumers. Magnetic’s insight manager Gareth Jones takes a look at Christmas ‘22 and how magazines were there for consumers.

While most of the country are pulling the covers off their barbeques, applying the suncream and reaching for a cold drink… or raising the umbrellas depending on how British this summer is, advertisers, agencies, and publishers are already looking forward to Christmas.

Over the last few years, Christmas has taken a few different forms. In 2020, we were very restricted in how we could celebrate leading to many missing out on the social aspects of the holiday. In 2021, we saw the welcome return of a more normal Christmas with family and friends. Since then, a lot has happened. Both the global and UK economies have been struggling with inflation causing rising prices resulting in a well-documented cost of living crisis.

According to Bauer’s audience research, the cost-of-living has become the number one barrier to gift shopping. 61% of people who spend less on Christmas gifts cited the rising cost of living as the cause.

Likewise, Immediate found that consumers were less likely to ‘push the boat out’ on the Christmas food shop with 10% splashing out compared with 29% the previous year. That said, over three quarters said they were not concerned that they could not afford a typical Christmas, illustrating the financial stability of the Immediate audience.

While many of us are checking our finances and paring back on some spending, magazine publisher audiences still have enormous spending power. Hearst report that the Hearst UK audience spent £4.1 billion on Christmas gifts in 2022. Throughout the Christmas period, brands are on hand for help and inspiration for everything from researching what to buy your loved ones, what recipe to use for the all-important Christmas Dinner, or what to watch after the washing up is taken care of.

Gift inspiration

Christmas in the 21st century = tech, with adults and children alike excited to get their hands on the latest gadgets. And looking back at last Christmas, magazine brands were on hand to guide consumers through their research and help them find the right products. In November ‘22, clocked up 2.4 million UK visitors looking for trusted information on the latest tech in the run up to Christmas. This was their biggest monthly audience all year. Likewise, saw a spike in activity in October ‘22 with 1.8 million UK visitors.

Dedicated review sites also have their place as demonstrated by Expert Reviews and Trusted Reviews, who both saw their largest audiences of the year in November and December ‘22. Expert Reviews saw 2.36 million and Trusted Reviews saw 1.85 million UK visitors in November ‘22 alone.

Planning ahead

So, you’ve got the gifts covered but, as we all know, that’s only part of the story. The next big event to think about is the food.

Traditionally for much of the UK, the focal point of food at Christmas is the main meal on Christmas Day. As with buying gifts, Christmas dinner takes planning. Recipes are researched, food is ordered and then, on Christmas morning some assembly is required. Fortunately, magazine publishers are there to help with tips and advice.

In December ‘22, the BBC Good Food website had 14.7 million UK visitors peaking on Christmas Eve with 2.25 million visitors looking ahead to the big meal the next day. 1.9 million visitors used the site on Christmas Day looking for advice on how to get those sprouts just right.

And it’s not just the food focused brands that are relied on. The Good Housekeeping website saw their visitor numbers increase from October peaking at 5.9 UK visitors in December. A total of 1.5 million visitors looked at food content on the Good Housekeeping website in December ‘22 with a spike on Christmas Eve with 113k visitors.

Customer magazine titles are also valued in this space. The Sainsbury’s Magazine site saw a spike in December with 1.3 million visitors planning their Christmas food and drink shopping.

Time to relax

The gifts are opened, the food is eaten, and the washing up is done. It must be time to put your feet up. But what to watch?

Magazine brands have this covered too.

The Radio Times website saw it’s second highest user numbers of 2022 in December. 7.4 million people visited the site in the UK, peaking around Christmas with 718k on Christmas Eve, 803k on Christmas Day, and 792k on Boxing Day.

New Year’s Eve saw another spike with 766k visitors. Audience research from Bauer shows that 78% of adults watched a film at home over the Christmas break so having TV and entertainment brands to point you in the right direction is a sure-fire way to keep the family happy.

Consumers look to magazine titles over the Christmas period for entertainment and inspiration, and the brands don’t disappoint. Because of the trust readers have in their favourite titles, editors and writers know what consumers want and how to talk to them. So, now’s the time to get in touch with our publishers to discuss how magazine media can help reach your target audience this Christmas.

For more information on any of the publisher research mentioned above, please get in touch with:

Bauer Media
Immediate Media
Hearst UK

Or get in touch with

Ipsos MORI, Ipsos iris Online Audience Measurement Service, 1st January 22-31st December 22, 15+

PAMCo – PAMCo H1 2023 (June ’21 – December ’22) (November ’22 Ipsos iris data)