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T'is the Season

By Melina Seeam (December 2020)

In the Northern Hemisphere, the festive season would mean enjoying the snowy outdoors, hot drinks and a cozy fireplace. In Namibia this is the complete opposite with summer being at its peak. The vibe is hotter, ice cold drinks are trending and instead of a fireplace, the AC is the spotlight if we’re indoors.

This time of the year is considered as most anticipated as it brings a lot of excitement to discover the different decors that took weeks or months even of planning before being displayed. One of the most popular marketing tactic for the holiday season is when Christmas decorations, ornaments and huge Christmas trees start to flood shopping malls, shops and streets around the world. This ambience creates a welcoming atmosphere that has had a positive impact on generating visitor and sales traffic.

For advertising, the holiday period implies that companies are busy creating seasonal campaigns to be flighted in line with the theme. This is when they are willing to risk their media budgets and go big with the confidence that they will be able to charm consumers into buying their products. Holiday campaigns have characteristics such as:

  • Self-gifting rhetoric

  • Information on discounts, sales, coupons

  • Language reflective of the season

  • Use of promotional keywords

The festive marketplace is highly competitive. The trend is for retailers to sell more during the season. It is therefore key to take advantage of the festive feeling in the customer buying journey where the customers are in the mood to spend on gifts and then to tailor the campaign in a way that reaches the audience authentically and emotionally. Customers must be convinced that the brand belongs on their shopping list through proper campaign communication that addresses:

  • Anticipation – Creates more appreciation in the product you are selling (E.g. upcoming sale or mystery gift)

  • Personalization – Adds more value and care

  • Sense of urgency – Campaigns with an expiry date will prompt people to buy faster and spend more.

  • Reciprocity – Make the product offering valuable that will convert into customer loyalty for the next year.

Holiday sales however face a challenging situation with a rise in unemployment rates caused by Covid-19. In a Deloitte study on the U.S marketplace, the sales forecast is expected to be positive with an expected growth of 1% and 1.5% amounting to USD 1.2 trillion in overall spending for the holiday season. Point to be noted is that this growth is to mainly come from high earning households. It is argued that the savings reduced from spending in restaurants and travelling, experiences deemed unsafe due to Covid-19, could help in pushing gift giving craze. In fact it is the lower income and unemployed groups who are expected to face a slower recovery. There will be less spending from their side on gifts than in 2019. In the digital marketplace, higher online sales are to occur by 25% and 30% accounting nearly 17% of the total retail sales. This online selling trend is likely to follow in countries who have been hit by the second wave lockdown.

Consumer electronics is forecasted to become the driving sales category. What has led to this is the at-home lifestyle forced upon by the pandemic. People are more willing to look at upgrading their technologies for better entertainment solutions and work-friendly environment at home. Statistically the at-home lifestyle is to fuel 18% of the growth in consumer buying compared to just 4% in 2019.

Check out Amazon’s The Show Must Go On advert!!!

Retail therapy in Namibia is not popular as abroad but there are plenty of deals during the festive season. In the past, Black Friday and the festive season was not considered as being related. However, Covid-19 altered consumer behavior and led the two events to connect. It is expected that the consciousness developed around money spend during the lockdown period has created a new inclination to what is defined as a luxury. As The Namibian reported, this year people would invest money in Black Friday deals to stock up for the festive season. Those deals reflect a similar trend as in the US mainly in light of electronics but also go on to include beauty treatments, cosmetics, household goods and clothing. Marketing takes place with shops at malls having stands in the hallways where the best offers are displayed while inside the shops even more goodies are to be anticipated but this may be priced higher than those outside.

At Ogilvy for this last stretch of 2020, we’re powered by the motto “Starting Strong Is Good, But Finishing Stronger Is Epic”. With Covid-19 creating unstability for business at the beginning of the year, we have still made it this far in spite of all of the economic tensions brewing. The highlight this year for Team Red included the winning of two account pitches within the space of one month which reflects the efforts and teamwork put in by each of our Ogilvy Namibia family members and also their dedication to always being there to make brands matter under any circumstance. On that note, we would like to express our thanks to all of our clients for trusting us and our partnership. No GRINCH will steal our Christmas! We wish everyone a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2021!

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