Three new Christmas trends brought by the pandemic, and how brands should respond

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 10 July 2020
Unboxing a Christmas Like No Other

The disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic has given rise to three new trends for Christmas in Australia which put simplicity and local businesses at the centre, according to research by Nine’s Powered.

The Unboxing a Christmas Like No Other research was developed in partnership with The Lab and presented at a Big Ideas Store panel this morning. It found that the current crisis has made 52% of Australians reconsider what they want out of life, while another 64% say it was a “reset” needed to reevaluate how we’re living.

As a result of this shake-up to people’s values and behaviours, three key trends have emerged; simplicity, a focus on Australian products and holidays, and a greater focus on meaningfulness.

The panel, which included Powered’s Toby Boon, The Lab’s Rebecca Brody, Tourism Australia’s Rob Dougan, 9Honey’s Jo Abi and AdNews’ Assia Benmedjdoub, discussed how brands can still tap into what is usually a lucrative time of the year by shifting their focus on these values.

“The common thread is this idea of connection,” says Rebecca Brody, The Lab strategy and insight specialist.
“And that’s really in light of the past few months of us being forced apart.

“For Christmas this year, it’s going to be about that simplicity of stripping things away so we can focus on quality time, it’s going to be about getting out into nature and connecting with our communities and it’s going to be about connecting with our loved ones through thoughtful gifting and bringing more meaning to the way that we show our love over the season.”


The three new trends for Christmas

A key challenge for brands planning their Christmas strategy is the uncertainty around consumer spending as Australian communities face the potential of suddenly being forced back into lockdowns, as we’ve seen with Melbourne in the past week. Additionally, household budgets have already been tightened with job losses or reduced hours, with 38% of Nine audiences saying their household finances have been significantly or partly reduced due to COVID-19.

But despite the widespread unease among consumers, Rob Dougan, Tourism Australia executive general manager of strategy and research, warns brands against “COVID-vertising”.

“There’s been this trend recently of the COVID-vertising style and while that feels like it’s the right thing to do, because it is highly relevant in that moment, brands are forgetting what they stand for,” Dougan says.

“I think that brands are forgetting what they stand for and what makes them different.

“Coming into this period, brands should stick to their guns and stand for what they have alway authentically stood for. Rather than trying to be hyperrelavent to the moment, they should continue with what has worked for them in the past and just tone it down a bit.”

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