Christmas dinner costs no longer a (par)snip
Yes, Christmas is pegged as being the most wonderful time of the year. But we have something new and not so great to look forward to this year: a hefty Christmas dinner bill.
As long as you didn’t go wild with fancy choccies and bottles of Christmas cheer, it was always fairly reasonable. After all, turkey was chosen because it was good value and fed a lot of people. In the olden days, those with money to burn opted for goose to show off their wealth.
Now though, thanks to the slumping pound, Christmas dinner is going to cost a whopping 16% more this year. Yes, the prices for turkey, sprouts and all our dinner table favourites have jumped up big time.
And as if we aren’t all stretched enough at this time of year. A price increase of almost 1/5th is really going to hit where it hurts: in the purse or wallet. Customer comments heard bandied around the grocery stores are unlikely to be complimentary.
And we can assume that if food costs have skyrocketed, gift costs will have too.
But instead of going into the red, are people going to settle for a stocking full of satsumas, a couple of chocolate coins and an everyday dinner?
We don’t need to carry out user experience research to answer that silly old chestnut of a question. Of course they’re not!
Let’s face it, Christmas – with Halloween and Easter hot on its heels – is big business.
If Christmas and the other holidays were brands, they would be the ones to watch and learn from.
Losing a grip on reality
Shopping for these ‘brands’ is perhaps the most emotive customer experience there is. Seriously, people lose control of their senses at Christmas, Easter and Halloween.
Of course, the Americans are to blame for a lot of it. (Since when did Christmas hit the shops as soon as Halloween was over?! And when did Halloween become such big news?!) But we can’t put it all at their door: customer satisfaction surveys have obviously proved that people want to fritter away their hard-earned cash on as many special occasions as possible.
I honestly don’t understand the appeal of crowded shops, the hoards of gimmicks and seasonal music.
I have to grudgingly admit though, I admire these pseudo ‘brands’ for the loyalty they instill in people.
You can’t imagine shoppers battling in the fruit and vegetable aisles for parsnips at any other time of year. But on Christmas Eve, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there were veg wars because a supermarket was down to its last bag of sprouts.
As for the gift buying…. Anyone with a child under the age of about 7 will already be tearing their hair out looking for the latest hot craze.
It’s apparently fingerlings this year. (I thought they were a type of potato until my friends started talking about nothing else on Social Media).
Christmas is still 4 weeks away, but shops are selling out of these little talking finger puppets as soon as they hit the shelves.
And what does that mean? That people are heading over to EBay and Amazon and paying a fortune for a little bit of plastic that normally retails for about a tenner.
All to stop little Johnny throwing a fit on Christmas morning because he didn’t get a toy that he will have forgotten about by February.
Talk about an emotive user experience. I’d definitely be crying into my egg nog if I had a kid of an age to pile on the ‘must have’ gift pressure.
Loyalty for traditions
And it’s not just Christmas gifts that make people go gaga. Consumer loyalty knows no bounds when it comes to advent calendars, Easter eggs and Halloween treats.
Would a Mum settle for Maltesers in any of the above guises if their little cherub loved Milky Bar? Don’t be ridiculous!
Parents turn into Rottweilers in their mission to make special occasions as perfect as possible for their offspring and other relatives.
Perhaps it’s the music or the generally feeling of good cheer. Or maybe we all go a little bit loopy because we allow ourselves to consume extra quantities of sugar/alcohol/food in general/all of the above.
Either way, there is definitely something to be learnt from holidays such as Easter, Halloween and Christmas with their brand hats on.
You need to know what magic it is that will make your customers loyal enough to come back to you time and time again.
In the absence of fairy dust, why not get in touch with us here at The Monachie Project and let us carry out detailed user experience testing so that you can discover what makes your customers tick, so you can better meet their needs and requirements.
And don’t forget to enjoy every morsel of that delicious Christmas dinner since it’s costing you more than ever!
Oh, and if anyone from Nestle, Mars or WowWee (the Fingerlings people) are reading this and want to send us goodies as a thank you for the plugs, feel free!