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Australian Consumers Looking for Festive Feelgood Factor from Advertisers This Christmas

  • New study from Unruly reveals consumer expectations and attitudes ahead of 2020 festive season
  • Only a third think this year’s festive ads should reference COVID-19

SYDNEY— November 13, 2020 — Australians are looking to advertisers to provide some much-needed festive cheer this Christmas time. That’s according to new research carried out by video advertising company Unruly, which looked at Australian consumers’ attitudes, emotions and buying behaviours ahead of this year’s festive season.

With the global pandemic still having a significant impact on people’s lives, this year’s festive celebrations promise to be very different.

To help brands navigate this new festive landscape, Unruly, in partnership with sister brand Tremor Video, has conducted research into Australian consumers’ shopping behaviors and content viewing habits this holiday season, as well as to gauge their enthusiasm for the upcoming season amid the backdrop of the Coronavirus.

After a year to forget, the study found most Australians are looking for advertisers to provide some much-needed COVID-free positivity. When asked what kind of tone they want from this year’s crop of Xmas ads, almost 7 out of 10 Australian consumers said they’re looking for positivity from brands.

Almost half of Australian consumers want this year’s Xmas ads to make them feel happy. A third want them to feel warm, while 26% want to feel inspired. However, they are not necessarily looking for escapism, with more than half also looking for advertisers to be realistic and practical.

Only a third of Australian think this year’s festive ads should reference COVID-19 at all.

Other findings from the study include:

  • A quarter of Australians plan to do their festive shopping earlier than last year, with early December expected to be the busiest time among consumers. 8 out of 10 have still to do the bulk of their Xmas shopping;
  • With many trying to save money this year, 46% of Australian consumers are looking to take advantage of Black Friday/ Cyber Monday deals. 22% will do most of their Christmas shopping during the Black Friday weekend, while 17% admit they will spend more this year on Black Friday/ Cyber Monday deals than last year;
  • 58% of Australian consumers plan to do at least half of their Christmas shopping online this year.
  • A third of Australian shoppers plan to increase the amount of Xmas shopping they do online this year, with 79% citing the threat of COVID-19 as the main factor behind their decision;
  • When asked how they felt about the upcoming festive season, the most popular answer among Australians was happy (35%). However, more said they felt indifferent (31%) about Xmas than excited (28%);
  • 91% of consumers are planning to maintain or increase their Christmas spend in at least one category (gifts, food, travel, going out, alcohol, clothes).

“We know many Australian brands have felt unsure how to approach Christmas advertising this year. Our research shows a third of people think ads should reference COVID, while most had no opinion either way,” said Rebecca Waring, Global VP of Insights at Unruly.

“Therefore, advertisers should not feel pressured to base their campaign around COVID. They can refer to the pandemic explicitly, subtly, or not at all, depending on whether it makes sense for their brand and the story they are trying to tell. It was interesting that Australians were more likely than UK or US consumers to value practicality and realism in Christmas advertising. Whatever subject matter you choose, taking a positive tone is crucial, and any hint of sadness needs to be handled very lightly. People are seeking happiness, warmth and inspiration.”

“With so many necessary adjustments to our habits and lifestyles in 2020, there’s little surprise we have witnessed an irreversible acceleration of the ‘from-home’ economy, and with that the volume of online shopping has grown significantly,” added David Haddad, Unruly’s ANZ MD. “This holiday season will be spent largely at-home, and advertisers should seize this opportunity to deliver highly-targeted, personalised ads across all screens, particularly tapping into Connected TV, and leveraging the multiple screens used throughout the home.”


Unruly and Tremor Video, which are both owned by Tremor International, surveyed 809 Australian consumers in October 2020 for this study. Audience sample used was nationally representative.

To view the full study, please click here.