With the plethora of Christmas retail results announced this week, it seems to have been a very happy festive period indeed for the majority of national retailers.

Non-food retailers such as House of Fraser, reported an increase in sales of 2.7% with Games Workshop stating 28.2% increase in the long festive lead-up and a whole host coming somewhere in-between including Argos, Majestic Wine, Superdrug and Jigsaw.

And, food retailers also fared well, Aldi and Lidl recorded December sales up 15% and 10% respectively, reaching a record total for both stores. While Sainsbury’s and Co-op reported lower, but still important, increases in sales

John Lewis, shop sales over the festive period were up 0.8%, but the real hero was its ecommerce performance as online sales rose 11.8% and accounted for 40% of the total sales. How much of this was due to Buster the Boxer Dog, remains unclear. But there is no doubting it had an impact with 53.5 million views across social channels in its first week alone.

Marks & Spencer posted a rise in clothing and homeware sales over the Christmas period for the first time in two years. Like-for-like sales were up 2.3% over the 13 weeks to 31 December.

Was this due to the Mrs Claus advertising campaign, or other marketing activity? As a recipient of its personal marketing campaigns, and loyalty promotions, I can confirm, in my humble opinion, M&S did well on the personalised approach too. I personally hated the M&S advert (my mum loved it!) but it didn’t stop me from buying both gifts and food from the store.

Both retailers reported an increase in digital traffic coming from mobile phones, which is perhaps no surprise as smart phone penetration purports to be some 43.6 million smart phone users in the UK. So, just what influenced us to shop the way we did and with whom? Was it the glitzy adverts? The personalised emails? The recommendation from friends? The price promotions? The social media pr message? The product reviews? The high profile advertising campaigns? Something that caught our eye in a magazine?

But it was probably a combination of all of these, as we become ever more children (however old we are) of the digital age, where information about what we are interested in becomes ever more accessible and the routes to purchase become ever more digital!

I kinda miss the trips into town, spending all day there with my mates!  But did I do the bulk of my festive shopping online?  Of course I did!

Lynne Goddard

Our consumer PR agency specialises in connecting everyday brands with everyday people across four core sectors; Consumer PR, Food & Drink PR, Consumer Technology PR and Sport, Health & Wellbeing PR.