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Record £9.5bn to be spent during Christmas advertising season

Advertisers are set to spend a record £9.5bn during the Christmas season, according to new data released by the Advertising Association (AA) and WARC, a 4.8% increase from last year’s record spend of £9bn.

Record £9.5bn to be spent during Christmas advertising season
Sharon Lloyd Barnes: “From offering gift ideas to inspiring holiday cheer, the annual display of brand creativity consistently entertains and warms hearts.”

Further research conducted by the Advertising Association for this year’s Christmas advertising season revealed nearly half (48%) of all adults credit Christmas ads with helping to spark gift ideas, while 70% of young adults (25-34) find Christmas ads to be the ultimate festive mood booster.

Notable trends in advertising spend for the Christmas season include year-on-year growth in a series of media channels. Broadcast Video on Demand (BVOD) leads the way with a 20.2% increase, while out-of-home advertising and online display follow closely with 10.3% and 9.1% growth, respectively. The internet continues to be an important platform for advertisers, with four out of five pounds now spent on online advertising. Television advertising remains significant, with a predicted spend of £1.5 billion on TV during the quarter.

Many of the UK’s biggest brands will release blockbuster Christmas ads this year including companies such John Lewis, Boots, and Tesco. Sainsbury’s has 80s legend Rick Astley in its Christmas ad, while Asda features festive favourite Michael Bublé in its ad. The festive ads appear across a series of days and weeks during November and into early December, following a well-established pattern between advertisers, agencies, and media owners.

Sharon Lloyd Barnes, commercial director, Advertising Association, said: “Christmas advertising is an integral part of the festive season. From offering gift ideas to inspiring holiday cheer, the annual display of brand creativity consistently entertains and warms hearts. One of advertising’s major roles is to help people choose between products and services. Whether it’s an outdoor ad for a local Christmas fair, or a big budget campaign for a high street brand, advertising is there to help people know about the options available to them.”

Matt Bourn, communications director, Advertising Association, said: “Whether you’re a big high street store or a small local business, Christmas advertising is essential to attracting customers, helping to inspire ways people can enjoy the festive season and supporting jobs across the UK. The ads we will see this year will be among top contenders for some of the best ads worldwide, going onto win awards and reinforcing the UK’s position as a global hub for advertising, creativity, and storytelling.”

Following the Victorian era, during which family and gift-giving became central themes of the celebration, advertising allowed businesses to use the festive season to sell their products. This year’s holiday season follows a long tradition of Christmas adverts. Many examples of those, such as the Coca Cola ‘Holidays Are Coming’, Yellow Pages, Quality Street and John Lewis award-winning campaigns including Monty The Penguin can be seen online at the History of Advertising Trust.

To see the full AA/WARC Q4 2023 forecast for ad spend, click here.

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