UK: Which brands won Christmas?
January 11th, 2023, Hoang Nguyen

UK: Which brands won Christmas?

The festive season is the most important time of the year for many brands. During this period, many consumers are channelling the holiday spirit and it’s a great time to drive home the connection between consumers, brands and their shared values.

Competition for consumer attention can be fierce, though, and brands want to stand out with their Christmas ad campaigns to boost brand awareness and increase sales.

YouGov has been tracking the brands and retailers in the UK that have made the biggest impact on consumers in terms of the ads they’ve noticed during the Christmas season and the brands they’re talking about with friends and loved ones. The data comes from YouGov BrandIndex, a daily tracker of consumers’ perceptions towards more than 27,000 brands globally.

In this analysis, we highlight brands from key categories such as Grocery, General Retail, and Fashion and Beauty. We also examine brands such as Coca-Cola, Disney+, and McDonald’s, that typically make big media investments during this period but do not fit in the other three categories (I.e., Other).

Ad Awareness

Looking at the brands that with the greatest Ad Awareness—the share of consumers who saw an ad for a brand—between November 1st and Christmas, we see several household names occupying consumer attention during the Christmas season.

Among Grocery retailers, M&S took the top spot with 41.5% of UK adults saying they saw an ad for the retailer over the last three months. Roughly two-fifths of consumers also saw ads for Tesco (40.6%) and Aldi (38.8%) during this same period. Around a third of UK consumers saw an ad for Lidl (35.6%) and Asda (34.5%) as well.

For Fashion & Beauty retailers, M&S again leads all other brands in terms of Ad Awareness (33.7%). Boots (25%), TK Maxx (17%), JD Sports (13.9%) and Tu Clothing (11.2%) also performed well in capturing the attention of consumers with their ads.

General Retailers John Lewis (32.4%), Amazon (29.8%) and Argos (26.7%) all had effective advertising campaigns this holiday season. Daily brand performance data from YouGov BrandIndex reveals that Ad Awareness for all three brands surged and peaked at different times during the festive season.

John Lewis’ Ad Awareness, for example, sat below that of Amazon’s and Argos’ scores at the start of October. That didn’t last for long though, especially with the high-end department store having a history of delivering cinematic and engaging holiday ads since 2007.

And sure enough by early November, consumer attention for John Lewis’ ads surged upwards to overtake Ad Awareness for Amazon and Argos and peaked at 37.4% near early December.

By contrast, Argos’ and Amazon’s Ad Awareness ticked up steadily since the start of the festive shopping season. Amazon’s Ad Awareness peaked at 31.9% in early December while Argos’ highest Ad Awareness (28.4%) came in the week leading up to Christmas.

Other retailers such as Apple (23.5%) and eBay (20.8%) also captured a fifth or more of the public’s advertising attention during this period.

Among the 27 brands tracked in the analysis, McDonald’s had the highest Ad Awareness score during the festive season (44.1% of consumers saw an ad for the brand). Coca-Cola is another notable brand to mention for its Christmas advertising performance. The brand’s Ad Awareness score surged by 31.7 percentage points between the beginning of October (14.4%) and Christmas eve (46.1%).

Word-of-Mouth Exposure

Advertisements are an effective way of getting in front of consumers on your terms, but word-of-mouth marketing can grow a brand’s presence in a free and organic way.

This festive season, the most talked about brands in the Grocery category are Aldi (26.3% of UK adults talked about the brand with friends and family), Tesco (25.5%), Lidl (22%), M&S (21.3) and Sainsbury’s (19.7%).

Among Fashion & Beauty retailers, Marks & Spencer (21.8%) and Boots (16.3%) top the list followed by TK Maxx (13.3%), Sports Direct (7.7%) and Tu Clothing (7.3%).

Amazon (28.9%) was the most talked about General Retailer in the category, followed by John Lewis (18.2%), Argos (18%), eBay (14.4%), and Smyths Toys (9.3%)

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Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash