As Christmas trading results are published this week, Mustard has conducted a series of polls to get consumer feedback on which retailers were perceived as the winners and losers of the festive period. In total, more than 9,000 votes were cast through the Toluna panel across December 2013 and through the first week of January 2014. The insights included the following:

John Lewis officially takes Marks & Spencer’s Christmas Crown

In our previous research M&S has been perceived as having the best ads and the best stores. This is no longer the case. John Lewis has achieved a broader appeal across all age ranges. John Lewis now appears to officially own Christmas, with like-for-like sales up 6.9% and having also scored more YouTube views and Twitter mentions to boot (source: The Drum).

Christmas shopping market research

Consumers are in-tune with who is performing better / worse

Ahead of like-for-like sales figures being published and profit warnings issued, consumers are aware of whose Christmas went with a bang and whose went with a fizzle. Debenhams (forecasting 25% less profit), Tesco (underlying sales down 2.3%), M&S (GM sales down 2.1%) and Mothercare (-4% like-for-like sales) were all picked out by consumers as Christmas losers. Whilst fewer than 1% selected Next (recently reported a 12pc rise in eight-week sales).

Christmas shopping insight

Grocery retailers polarise, but clearly play an important role

Tesco was both commonly selected as both a Christmas ‘winner’ (probably from a volume perspective) and a Christmas ‘loser’ (with sales down). ASDA delivered the most Christmassy stores (especially from the perspective of younger shoppers). Sainsbury’s was very seldomly selected as a Christmas loser. People liked both Sainsbury’s and Morrisons TV ads, although Morrisons were down at 17th in the ‘winners’ list (reflective of the 5.6% fall in sales). Waitrose were ‘mid-table’ on all measures.

Discounters and price focused retailers increasingly well regarded

The grocery retailer to make the greatest strides, however, was clearly Aldi. In addition to taking  market share, many people liked the TV ad, and many selected Aldi as one of the Christmas winners (despite perhaps under-delivering on in-store Christmas feel). Aldi and Lidl are both expected to double-digit growth figures as their appeal broadens. Lidl and Primark (who reported record profits in November) also feature in the top 10 “winners” (without delivering Christmassy stores). Critically, they delivered an aligned brand experience.

The results:

Best Christmas TV ad Most Christmassy stores Christmas retail winners 2013 Christmas retail losers 2013

For more detailed results, including sub-group variations, feel free to contact Richard, Gareth or Jo.

As for our favourite festive TV ad – the winner has to be this one, courtesy of Hunter’s:

Hunter’s Christmas Ad 2013