9 July 2020

Christmas in July trend predictions and top gifts

By Nicola Goodman

BWP took part in this year’s Christmas in July virtual panel discussion showcasing all the trends and top gifts for 2020. Here are our predictions, shared at the event by our Head of PR, Nicola Goodman…

What key trends do you see for this year?

We can expect several trends from the current situation to extend into the 2020 festive season.

With many of us continuing with remote working in some form until the new year, our home and ‘nesting’ will inevitably remain a focus. Home tech, in particular, will remain key, from screens to speakers, headphones to virtual assistants, tech will be keeping us connected, engaged and streaming. The emerging health and wellbeing tech trend will continue to grow, with a focus on home workouts (think Peloton and the Lululemon Mirror) and home beauty gadgets. Consumers demand style as well as substance within this sector and are prepared to pay a little more for it!

As COVID has brought us all closer together in ways no one could have predicted we will see a shift towards group gifting; gifts for multiple people to share and that continue to unite us, such as nostalgic, retro board games and quizzes, wine and cheese tasting kits and crafting kits.

Subscription gifts delivered to your door continue to grow as a trend. From razors blades to roses, from cheese to chocolate, it’s the gift that keeps on giving, with something new arriving each week or month, and is a great alternative to the norm. Oh and my personal favourite…cocktails by post!

For the eco-conscious, vegan fashion brands are leading the way with cruelty-free materials, Veja, Mat and Nat and Butterfly Twists are all upping their game this season.

And finally, gifts with purpose, be that charity and community gifts like the NHS rainbow t-shirt, gifts that support the arts, hand-crafted gifts by independent sellers or just buying local to keep your high street alive. Giving something back has never been more important to consumers.

Will gifting price points be affected?

Price sensitivity is a huge trend in consumer sentiment reports. Pricing will need to reflect the mood of the nation and with a recession predicted in the coming months, value for money will be key. Joint and whole family gifts bringing people together, as well as a percentage of profits to charity, will be more desirable to the consumer.

Shoppers will be careful with their money this year but they will also feel the need the treat themselves and others after this turbulent time, which will benefit certain sectors, such as beauty and lifestyle.

We are also very aware of the tiered-pricing gift guides that have become popular with journalists in recent years, so in discussions with our clients we would always recommend a selection of products at different price points to attract more media and consumer interest.

We understand that there are some supply chain issues delaying product readiness and hence shoots for product page and gift guide imagery are delayed, impacting long lead publication deadlines, what is your experience with this?

Several of our US-based client product launches have been delayed due to COVID shifting from spring to autumn, which is very challenging for long lead media Christmas coverage. It is our intention to have more new products ready for Christmas, but some of these are looking later now, especially where part of the supply chain is in Asia.

We have had to plan things a little differently this year, so we are intending to host virtual product launches between now and September to ensure we share all relevant information with the media ahead of deadlines. We will have to have a two-staged approach just like Christmas in July, focussing on long lead titles for products ready now and short lead media for products delayed until the autumn.

All imagery for current products and summer launches is ready, while assets for later launches are still in the pipeline, but are all set for autumn.

Is your approach with the media changing this year?

Absolutely yes, we have had to adapt just like other industries. All media pitching is virtual, which has been a great success thanks to platforms like Christmas in July and its Father’s Day power pitching event.

Through digital outreach, our media relationships have been more personal as we let each other into our homes. We have found out more about journalists’ likes and dislikes in the last three months than in the last three years.  We can tailor our pitches to their personal requirements, which in turn is making our media pitches more successful.

We have had to be mindful that samples aren’t always available or even in the country, so we have relied upon goodwill and understanding from journalists. All imagery and spec must be spot-on to ensure product placement.

Ever-changing government guidelines have made it challenging to pitch media for pages to be printed in two-three months. Will we be in lockdown again or will the world be a totally different place? We have had to constantly adapt our pitching style and strategy and hope that when we go to print, we remain relevant.

How do you think Christmas 2020 will be different to previous years?

This Christmas will be all about bringing people together, giving back to our communities, local business and good causes. People will be donating their time more to charities, to families, to schools and to those in need. It will be about enjoyment and reflection, and relief that we got through this year together.

We will be gifting to make others, and ourselves, feel better and to make our world a better place.

Stats show retail footfall is at approx. 95% of where it was last year in parts of Europe, who are ahead of us in terms post-lockdown behaviour. The UK is hovering around 50-60% of normal footfall and sales currently. The forecast is, this will grow as consumer confidence grows and, with pubs and restaurants now open, consumers are getting more comfortable with being out and are keen to purchase. By Christmas, we can only hope that we can shop, dine, socialise and gift as we wish.

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