It is a serious business in most Eastern Europeans’ cultures when it comes to celebrating Christmas and New Year. No matter how the economic landscape might be, consumers will find a way to enjoy the end-of-the-year holidays – and all retailers are waiting for this period. This year, internet retailing will continue building on its convenience, by attracting new consumers or new orders on top of the existing ones. Warmed up after Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other similar events happening in November, among December’s online sales winners will be sports goods products (apparel, footwear and equipment, wearables and fitness trackers). Bought for personal use or as gifts, these will benefit from the regional trend for a more active and healthier lifestyle, but also from the start of the winter sports season. Even so, store-based retailers will account for the majority of the Christmas and New Year sales, and it is interesting to observe how less expected formats, such as discounters, can position themselves as perfect gift sources.
Among proven and really powerful means of festive season sales stimulation, retailers keep on offering promotional brochures and magazines with gift ideas. In fact, the number of promotional brochures doubles over the Christmas-New Year period. This attracts more shoppers to bricks-and-mortar stores and also provides a good gift ideas vs prices research landscape for consumers. This is beneficial for the whole Eastern European region, including EU Member States spoiled with endless discount offers, as well as CIS countries that are being strongly affected by economic crisis. In the first instance, consumers are searching for promotions, because they have become used to them, in the second case, significantly reduced consumer incomes is the main argument in the search for better price offers.
Alcoholic drinks – a traditional “must-have” on every Christmas table – will continue to be considered as a great and useful gift option during this holiday season. With the younger generation looking for the unique product with a story behind it: whiskies, collectable wines and luxury champagnes will be chosen over a product that is more traditional to this region, ie vodka. Although beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in Eastern Europe, it has often been overlooked during Christmas celebrations, being viewed as “too low-key”. This tendency seems to be changing, with craft beers and speciality beers increasingly becoming a great complement to the festive table.
Festive packaging or conjunction with special food selections will support sales of alcoholic drinks in December. Purchasing of limited edition and personalised mass brands is something that will help keep Eastern Europeans trendy, without emptying their wallets. Polish vodka Pan Tadeusz by Pernod Ricard is one example of brand personalisation. The company offers the possibility of having the name of the person that the bottle is being gifted to written on the label, which gives the brand a great competitive advantage during the holiday period.
With the extreme popularity of internet blogs over the whole of 2016, beauty cannot fail to get a spot in the top five most popular gifts this year. Most recommended and trending beauty products, with a variety of Korean brands among them, are already on the wish-lists of many Eastern European men and women. The obsession with fitness and an active lifestyle will be reflected in the increased popularity of products positioned for use prior to or after sports, niche fragrances for energising or for the opposite effect – relaxation and meditation.
Cosmetics for men are expanding the limits of traditional fragrances and shaving with festive sets of bath and shower, hair care and skin care. However, beard-grooming products are at the top of the wish-lists and will therefore take a significant place in Santa’s shopping basket this year.
Fulfilment of the little ones’ wishes is the number one priority for every Santa. Choosing the right present for a particular age range is not an easy task, but internet sites, blogs, brochures and TV adverts come to the rescue. These can provide not only inspiration, but also prices, product reviews, videos and even links to particular shops selling recommended products.
In this season, one of the most popular presents in Eastern Europe will be licensed toys, with ubiquitous media driving the category, and creating the desire for products with the logo of a well-known film, cartoon or character. In their letters to Santa Claus, children often ask for such things as the Elsa doll from Frozen, Star Wars figures or plush/plastic figures from the Peppa Pig family. Scientific, construction and remote control toys will also be popular, mostly due to the fact that they provide not only fun, but also educate the younger consumers.
Overall, looking into bloggers’ New Year’s Resolutions, which indicate the desires of a wide consumer group, it is hard to overestimate the aspiration for a healthy and more balanced lifestyle, cosiness and beauty in daily routines, and the wish to make the world a better place. Let all these wishes come true! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!