Spark retail momentum this Q1... | Clear Channel

Spark retail momentum this Q1...

04 Jan 2024 / Insights
By Clear Channel UK View Author on Twitter


As memories of New Year celebrations fade, the momentum for fresh festivities is building fast as three retail occasions appear on the horizon this Q1. Valentine’s Day takes centre stage next month, followed closely by the warm embrace of Mother’s Day and the joyous spring and hop of Easter.  Our latest research shows consumers are now more selective about their purchases, and the collective focus has shifted towards value and curated experiences.   

We're seeing new emerging patterns in how consumers will shop this quarter, as the nation adjusts to macroeconomic influences and conscientious budgeting. Consumers will be more considerate about their choices, prioritising value-right purchases. Still, brands and retailers are expecting a meaningful start to the year, as projections indicate a whopping £4bn splurge across these three occasions. This momentum is driven by consumers eager to balance big-ticket gift items, whilst creating special moments and experiences for their closest ones.  

Our refreshed Retail Occasions series is your guide to the who, what and where of the season’s activities.  Along with Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, this year, Easter also sneaks into the end of Q1, making it yet another key opportunity for brands take the initiative and spark some real retail momentum for the rest of the year.   

Now’s the time to fine-tune your marketing strategies to set yourself up for a packed Q1 ahead, and the right media choice is imperative to entice and generate retail appeal early on. Each occasion connects with a distinct group of buyers, defined by their characteristics and motivations.  But, grabbing the attention of light-category buyers, who are essential according to the laws of growth, is also particularly vital in uncertain economic times. These three occasions serve up the perfect opportunity to attract both new and existing buyers to numerous product categories.  

With its versatility as both a brand building channel delivering huge reach, and an ability to connect with shoppers using data-driven messages in the right moments and mindsets, Out of Home is the right choice for brands looking to inform and inspire shoppers this quarter. 

Spoilt with many little acts of love this Valentine’s Day …  

In the lead up to Valentine’s Day, searches are always filled with ‘gift guides’, ‘date ideas’ and ‘recipes’. Particularly this Valentine’s, Brits are putting in the time to do something extra meaningful to showcase their love. More are focusing their efforts on personalised and handmade gifts, as well as curated nights-in. With that in mind, consumers will need a little extra love and attention from brands to help create the perfect Valentine’s Day.  

And, when and where can brands connect with their consumers? People will be doing the majority of their planning and shopping two weeks out. They will also be setting their eyes in-store, with online gift purchases dropping -2%pts YoY. People will want a plethora of options to cherry-pick to build their own unique night. Brands will need to offer varying gift inspiration and ideas as browsers embark on their in-store trips.   

Mum’s the word...

We know many mums will say they don't want a fuss, but they do deserve the best of course, and this sentiment is exemplified across the nation as shopper penetration and sentiment is increased YoY across every category for the special day. 

72% agree Mother’s Day is an important occasion. Indeed, a very special day, and as a result, overall retail penetration is +7%pts and share of leisure spend is +12%pts compared to 2021. Furthermore, the top activity reported is family time, and visiting mum. For brands, they can fulfil this desire for quality time, by offering experiential gifts, dining offers and event deals for the entire family.  

Ready, set, hatch

Easter eggs will fill up supermarket shelves soon, but this year, expect a twist with more variation in sweet treat offerings. Particularly, 3 in 10 shoppers are purchasing healthier alternatives, opting for vegan, free-from or dark chocolate preferences. Confectionary brands and supermarkets should also look to engage Gen Z, as the 16-24 cohort are driving this demand for guilt-free options, with half doing so.  

In line with the wider trend for curated experiences, more consumers will be enjoying at-home activities this Easter, in comparison to last year. Consumers report +3%pts in cooking a special meal at home, +3%pts did some baking and +4%pts enjoying some relaxation at home. 

Guiding the Retail Experience

It’s clear consumers have distinct preferences for these key retail occasions. It is now up to brands to guide and support shoppers’ choices at the right time and in the right place. Consumers will have their eyes peeled for significant inspiration that resonates with them on Valentine’s Day. They’re looking for experiential gift offers to take mum out on her special day, and searching for the best supermarket deals to cook up a memorable Easter with their family.  

When thinking about your media plans, make the most of OOH’s real-world superpowers to deliver informative and contextual messages to your audience, inspiring their purchase decisions. From browsing in the hottest retail spots across high streets and malls, to stocking up in supermarkets, it’s all happening out of home.  

Source: Global Data, Retail Occasions 2023 

Ready to rise to the occasion?

If you'd like to know more, our Retail Occasions hub gives you easy access to deep occasion-specific intelligence and analytics on nine key occasions across the year. From Valentine’s Day to Christmas, we’ve got the answers to all the important questions on consumers’ attitudes and shopping behaviour. And, with our Retail Occasions Tracker, we’ll keep you updated on exactly when each occasion is activated, how many buyers have entered the market, current total market spend, and its remaining potential to tap into. You can access the hub here.