How brands can drive sales performance during the festive season

Dec 20, 2019

This article was first published on our partner agency site EFMP here.


Christmas is upon us, and the streets are heaving with people eager to spend their money to embrace the season of giving. It is a time to celebrate, to give gifts, and to eat, drink and be merry; and recorded sales figures reflect this.


We know that consumers’ behaviour is constantly changing,  yet when it comes to seasonal holidays, or special times of the year,  the more consumers’ behaviour changes, the more it remains the same. Seasonality has a major influence on the purchasing habits of consumers, and brands that invest wisely can capitalize on these trends. Brands can use seasonal marketing to align their marketing messages with the spirit of the season. During the festive season, premium brand products are 3 times more likely to be bought from a secondary display than at other times during the year. Additionally, in-store promotions are also far more likely to encourage impulse purchases at this time of year compared to any other time.

FMI have experienced how the brands they work with can drive their performance by investing heavily in marketing, merchandising and sales during the festive season; and it has proven to be worthwhile. The spirits industry, for example, generates 40% of its annual sales during the 13 weeks leading up to 31st December. A remarkable 44% of these sales occur during December! One of the brands that FMI helps to take advantage of this seasonality is, Jameson, the premium Irish Whiskey Company, they accounted for 18% (€23.7) of spirits sales over the 13 weeks ‘festive period’, up by 8.1% from the previous year. Another FMI brand that enjoys a huge increase in sales during this season is Glanbia Foods who sell over a million kilograms of fresh cream in the month of December alone. Over 1,500,000 units of retail cream are sold in Christmas week!. In order to attain these phenomenal figures for Glanbia Foods, FMI dedicates 6,000 merchandising hours across 500 stores to maximize milk and cream availability.


FMI has the capacity and resources to ensure that its customers are well placed to take advantage of these seasonal opportunities. In order to facilitate Jameson’s upsurge in sales activity, FMI employs a team of 12 Retail Sales Developers (RSD’s) and a Field Sales Manager to cover over 770 multiples, convenience stores and off-trade stores. RSD’s will positively influence sales by developing the accounts, maximizing shelf holding and negotiating additional shelf space and best position. They ensure that all promo campaigns and tastings are rolled out effectively in-store, while capturing all data and data visualization on cloud-based CRM software. RSD’s will capture all category pricing data along with product availability, NPD (new product development), and will focus on  SKU’s (stock keeping units), including those of competitors. In a month, FMI’s RSD’s will visit approximately 1,600 stores, setup 300 FSDU’s (free standing display units), merchandise 9,500 cases, place 1,500 POS (points of sale) and utilize 4,000 secondary display spaces. Seasonal campaigns generate 30% more revenue, on top of core projects, and so an additional merchandising blitz team of 30 members conduct 7500 store visits to make sure that everything is as it should be. Brands can indeed achieve huge increases in sales if they take advantage of the seasonal purchasing behaviour of customers; however, it requires strategic preparation, accurate policy execution and hard work.

Christmas is a time for giving and consumers tend to spend more during the festive season, on certain gift-related brands, as well as on a variety of other brands, including FMCG’s, clothing, and tech, than at any other time of the year. The statistics confirm that the Christmas Season is, without doubt, the premium shopping season of the year, so it is up to brands and retail outlets to capitalize on this retail opportunity.


As the New Year comes around, consumers switch to focus on the year ahead as they set resolutions and goals. This is when self-improvement brands such as weight loss and gyms could take advantage. And travel agencies could be prepared for the influx of business as people plan their holidays.  Valentine’s Day, which is an opportunity for romance-related brands, like restaurants and jewellers, to make their mark, follows. Then there’s the long bank holiday Easter weekend which presents not just gift-giving opportunities like the purchase of chocolates and flowers, but an opportunity for some home improvements, DIY or family weekends away. Carefully planning your marketing tactics throughout the entire year can help to reduce unpredictability and increase profits when the season finally rolls around.


But, for now, it is time to maximize the retail opportunities that this premium shopping season offers. Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help drive your retail growth.