Report 4 just landed! The real winners and losers of Christmas 2019

Get the real truth behind the trading reports

We predicted the Christmas trading period would be tough and we’ve certainly seen some shocker trading statements. Get the real consumer truths behind the figures with the final report in our Christmas Unwrapped series.

In report 4 we analyse the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of 2,000 UK consumers to reveal the 6 big stories that defined Christmas 2019. Don’t miss this crucial analysis so you can better understand your performance and opportunities to crack Christmas in 2020.

What do I get?

You get a story-led report, written by our senior insight experts, which will arm you with the intelligence to understand your performance against rivals and strategies to win in 2020! We’ve combined survey data analysis, qualitative research and social intelligence to give you the big picture and the smallest details on why Christmas panned out the way it did – including:

  • How the election shaped a nation’s sentiment, spend and socialising
  • Going out versus staying in – how the shift to nesting impacted
  • Splurge or sensible? See how consumers tackled the last few weeks of festive spending
  • Winning brands and secrets to their success
  • Why 2020 is a time for me to move forward but not move richer

Plus – free bonus content included! Consumers 6 wishes for 2020 and how brands can help

How much?

  • Report 4 is only £3,950 for over 40 slides of insights and recommended strategies.
  • Reports 1, 2 and 3 are also charged at only £3,950 each.
  • Or you can get all 4 reports for just £11,500! (saving you £4,000)

Want to buy?

Simply email or enter your details below

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KokoroBites: Christmas winners and losers

Supercharge your brain cells in 20 minutes with our live webinar series

Get the truth behind the trading reports

We predicted the Christmas trading period would be tough and we’ve certainly seen some shocker trading statements so far. Get the real consumer truths behind the figures – join our webinar for inside scoop.

Rejig your diary this Thursday and find just 20 minutes to hear how and why it all went so right for some brands and so horribly wrong for others.

What will you learn?

In just 20 minutes you’ll get to hear:

  • Who the winning and losing brands were this Christmas and the tactics they used to win
  • How consumer hopes really played out
  • How consumer spending plans materialised in the final critical weeks and what drove these
  • Whether we got it right! We’ll explore how our Christmas predictions played out

When is it?

Thursday 16th January 2020 – 14:00 (15:00 CET, 09:30 New York time)

This is a live session lasting 20 minutes – including 5 minutes Q&A at the end

Who’s providing the thought-provoking thinking?

You’ll be inspired by Laura Gillespie – leading Kokoro’s powerful work on leveraging emotions

Who is it for?

Anyone working in Insight, CX, UX, Marketing, Buying or Analytics for any brand where Christmas is an important trading period.

Love to attend but can’t make the time?

Enter your details and we promise to send you the content.

Kokoro Cuts – best of November

A round-up of the best new experiences and campaigns we’ve seen on our travels. Here’s what you need to know about

Apple dials up desire with arrival of AirPods Pro site

We started November with the latest Apple fix – the launch of AirPods Pro. It’s not the super positive reviews of this product that are blowing us away – it’s the amazing digital experience on Apple’s website to discover them. How can any website have any excuses when Apple can immerse us in this sort of dreamy digital desire?! The site helps bring to life (often boring) technical features with slick interactive animation and high res, beautiful imagery. And it looks just as amazing on mobile as it does on desktop. You even get to see the product in AR – not entirely sure why, but feels cool nonetheless.

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Nostalgia sells! Kitsch bars booming

Miracle Christmas bar phenomenon is booming across the pond and we think it’s only a matter of time before the UK follows suit. There’s only one Miracle pop-up franchise in the UK (at the oh so stylish Henrietta Hotel) but, like in the US, it’s a sell-out. With revellers attracted to the promise of full-on Christmas kitsch – from the retro decorations, to cocktails like Christmapolitan served in festive mugs, to a specially crafted Christmas playlist and an ‘Ugly Sweater’ party . What’s behind the boom? This is full-on feel-good in a pretty gloomy climate right now for consumers. There’s something very comforting about getting immersed in all this tinsel nostalgia!

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Source: Miracle pop-up

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Lush new concepts land in Paris and Florence

Lush, that brand that always manages create Visionary experiences, is at it again – immersing us in even more experiences that stir our senses! In Paris Lush experiments with the concept of ‘fresh’. The new store, called Fresh & Flowers, combines all the classics with flower-infused products (some of which are made on demand in-store) and its own florist selling locally-sourced, seasonal bouquets (such as those recently opened in Liverpool and Tokyo). Whilst in Florence, Lush focuses on perfume – stocking more than 70 lines of the stuff in The Lush Perfume Library. “The Perfume Library had to be in Florence because it was the birthplace of modern perfumery during the Renaissance. It is hard to not take inspiration from such a place and we really indulged ourselves in its history, art and iconic sights,” said Co-Founder of Lush Constantine. On top of this, in the UK Lush has opened a super fun experience for the holidays – the bath bomb conveyor belt adorns its largest stores! Each conveyor belt has over 100 bath bombs – yep you heard it correctly. Now that’s a way to improve dwell time in your store!

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World’s largest Starbucks hits Chicago

If only every Starbucks was like this? A massive 10,000 people showed up for the grand opening of the world’s largest Starbucks in Chicago in November. Starbucks has always been a bit ‘cult-like’ in the past with a massive sense of Belonging to the brand from its loyal fans. However, we’ve seen its feel-good experience dip with its loyal followers recently – check out how it performs in our thought piece. This huge four-storey store is certainly memorable! The Starbucks Reserve Roastery has a bakery, an “Experiential Coffee Bar,” a bar that serves alcohol and all coffee beans are roasted on site and transported around the store in Willy Wonka-esque pneumatic tubes! We’re intrigued to see how the brand can roll out elements of this vast concept to rejuvenate its high street following…

Future of the café experience?

A café that kids and adults can both enjoy? Surely not! Well this brand might just have cracked it. The world’s first educational café experience has opened in China – called Lolly-Laputan. It has been designed to house an amazing variety of play ideas in what is called a central wonderland, while adults eat at tables around the outside! We can’t envisage many more things a kid would want here – there’s a giant ball pit, a carousel, a theatrical stage, mini kitchens and supermarkets, toilets inspired by candyfloss and space travel! This is a massive step up from awful soft play options and tired, overpriced Rainforest Café style dining. It even has private dining – winner!

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Source: Dezeen

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Report 3 just landed! Has the election stolen Christmas spirit?

Get the most up-to-date read on how the nation feels about Christmas

Even after a Black Friday boost Christmas spend still looks under pressure – not helped by a trying election slap bang in the middle of festivities! Discover how the nation feels right now, how plans and spending are materialising and how the Christmas trading battle looks set to pan out as we enter the last crucial week!

In report 3 we analyse the feelings and behaviours of 2,000 UK consumers to reveal the 6 big stories you need to know about right now.

What do I get?

You get a story-led report, written by our senior insight experts, which will arm you with winning strategies. We’ve combined survey data analysis, qualitative research and social intelligence to give you the big picture and the smallest details on how Christmas is shaping up and what people want as we enter the final week of spending.

You really don’t want to miss this analysis of how the nation’s emotions are impacting Christmas 2019 vs. last year – including:

  • Why the Black Friday ‘monster’ is hard to slay
  • How consumers really feel right now and what this means for the last week of Christmas spend
  • The moments, experiences and brands with the winning formula to make us spend
  • One month on from being released which adverts are sticking in the heads and hearts of the nation
  • A sneak peak at 2020 – why it’s a chance to form new habits around healthier living and mental wellbeing

How much?

  • Report 3 is only £3,950 for over 40 slides of insights and recommended strategies.
  • Reports 1, 2 and 4 are also charged at only £3,950 each.
  • Or you can get all 4 reports for just £11,500! (saving you £4,000)

Want to buy?

Simply email or enter your details below

No Fields Found.

Cut to the Future – Manchester 2020

Cut through the Crap – Cut to the Future

Join our new thought-provoking, interactive event and learn how you can harness the big consumer trends of 2020 and transform them into actionable plans to drive remarkable growth for your brand. Join us on February 12 2020, 2-5pm.

Sick of trends conferences that talk about far flung, futuristic, complicated concepts with unprecedented long words? Sick of listening to slide after slide of strategy but doing very little actual doing? Want some actionable ideas to implement? We’ll help you Cut through the Crap and find the fuel to get ahead.

Cut to the Chat

See the future differently. We’ll present our research and acclaimed thinking to show you the 5 big trends motivating consumers in 2020. See how people want to feel and what this means for the way brands connect with them, so you can build better products, experiences and services to grow your base and transform your sales and profit.

We’ll show you how these trends impact key consumer audiences – with particular focus on:

– the young, sexy twenty-somethings every brand is after

– the often forgotten money-rich over 60s

We’ll inspire your proposition strategies – be it in banking, clothing, food and drink, retail or travel.

Cut to the Creating

Now put your learnings into action. How can your brand harness what you’ve heard?

We’ve got the experts to give you the techniques to feel confident enough to try new things and develop new ideas faster. We’ll workshop the practical ways you can capitalise on our big 5 trends in small groups of like-minded individuals.

You get the opportunity to put your ideas into action with our expert facilitation and new fresh thinking.

Cut to the KokoroLabs

Traditional insight measurement is broken. See and experience our new tools to better understand and predict human behaviour to drive better profit and growth.

ClosenessLab – Businesses are way too disconnected from consumers. Get our new tactics to get better connected and create winning products and experiences off the back of it.

JourneyLab – Most brands don’t have a clear plan on how and where to inject Visionary moments in their experiences to drive the most growth. See how FeelFactor can help.

UXLab – Take your UX research to a higher level than usability alone. See how we use our proprietary model of emotional drivers to build Visionary digital experiences.


February 12 2020 | 2-5pm

Malmaison| 1-3 Piccadilly | Manchester

2:00-2:30pm –
arrival and networking

2:30-3:30pm –
cut to the chat

3:30-4:30pm –
cut to the creating

4:30-5:00pm –
explore labs, network

5:00-8:00pm –
grab a drink and celebrate getting through dry January!

Save your spot now!

For our event on February 12 2020, 2-5pm.

This event is aimed at anyone who wants to challenge their thinking, get better at doing and currently works in Consumer Insight, CX, UX, Analytics, Marketing, Brand or NPD. Our last event was a sell-out. Places to this event are extremely limited. Reserve your spot to avoid disappointment.

How can savings learn from selfies?

Saving money; a tricky one for many. It doesn’t feel like an essential, such as our rent/mortgage or bills. We don’t want to adapt our lifestyles as dramatically as we think we might need to. If we get a pay rise, we’d like to enjoy it, thanks very much. So it’s hard to save.

Behavioural economics tell us saving really is hard, it goes against our nature. The bias is called hyperbolic discounting – we value smaller, immediate rewards much more than rewards which come later, even if they are bigger.

Nudge nudge, save save

Of course financial services know this, and there are many attempts to make us think and act differently when it comes to spending and saving. It’s not lecturing as there’s lots of innovative techniques and messages to help us break the inertia.

  • Fear = Aviva’s disruptive campaign – where they contrast the possibilities facing two 20-somethings when they live off their likely retirement income, in a bid to shock and encourage us to put more into pensions
  • Mindset shift = Nationwide’s PayDay SaveDay, in an attempt to give saving the same status as rent paying; pro-actively saving before the month is out, rather than scratching around for what’s left at the end
  • Easy, effortless, fun techniques = IFTTT (if this then that) rules can enable you to save every time it rains, or apps like Acorns which helps you save spare change by rounding up purchases

A drop in the ocean for social media

Whilst these campaigns and initiatives from financial services are admirable, we can’t help but wonder how impactful they can be against a backdrop of influencers flaunting their recent buys. Of course we all know the truth, that influencers are paid to represent brands, or get much of their talked-about purchases ‘gifted’. But that’s easily forgotten when scrolling through endless enviable images and a sense of community and support which tricks us into believing it could all be real.

The big message which cuts through loud and clear is **spend more** – either just by buying more, or by opting for products and experiences that are a cut-above your preferred price point.

The quieter, but no less harmful and damaging message is “this could happen to you too one day”. These influencers have ordinary lives, with few special skills or experience – just a great camera and a very patient room mate or partner to play photographer. Their lives changed quickly – almost overnight they have more money, gifts and status than they could have dreamed. This leaves followers thinking “why couldn’t that be me?” The possibility that a better selfie, with improved airbrushing and a slightly more aspirational setting could help anyone bag a £1,000 per post deal.  And this ‘one day’ dreaming makes saving a little a month feel futile.

Fight back

We believe a social media revolution of some kind is coming – consumers are more readily seeing through these faux fairy tales. But financial services can’t rely on and wait for the consumer to rise up.

Their best bet is to more effectively tap into consumer emotions. Social media moments play into a sensation of Desire and Freedom. It’s a combination of excitement and anticipation mixed with a burst of energy we feel when doing new or different things. This is a really powerful sensation; a feeling of a transformed and slightly better you. The feeling puts greater weight on the end result – it helps us counteract hyperbolic discounting. It’s this sensation that drags teenagers out of bed for driving lessons; makes ordinary people work until the early hours on their side hustle; helps families embark on weeks of disruption to achieve their dream kitchen extension and encourages the worst with money to save up for designer sunnies.

We believe the next savings mechanics should play to that powerful sensation; ditch the fear and making it over-easy. Create some FOMO. Use social differently. Find a way to make savings as irresistible as the Instagram like button.

As if grocery wasn’t tough enough…

In any sector, visionaries create the stakes. Those that create a sense of feel-good and get remembered set the bar. So what happens in grocery, where visionaries are few and far between? They let others with more agile set-ups outside their sector set the benchmark. Cue the fish climbing tree analogy.

Lidl and Aldi are just the start of the worries

Everyone’s seen the figures, unless you’re Lidl or Aldi, it couldn’t be tougher in the world of grocery – and it’s getting worse. For years, Lidl and Aldi’s praises have been sung by customers as they’ve succeeded in capturing a wide net of shoppers with low prices on essentials and luxury products for less – pilling on the pressure to the likes of the Big 4, and even M&S and Waitrose.

Now, there’s a new pressure on the supermarkets

As we enjoy an increasing number of meals outside the home – and this looks set to rise – we blur the line between grocery and other food brands in our minds. Brands offering us ready-to- eat solutions are distorting our reference points, by recalibrating what good looks like.

Without intending to, we raise our expectations

Let’s take Greggs; hugely successful, customers rave about it – they create an incredible sense of authenticity and freshness, which feels unique. Quite quickly supermarkets’ delicious smelling in-store bakeries don’t look quite so shiny – despite introducing new flavours and a recent revamp. It happens so easily… suddenly we’re disappointed with Sainsbury’s gin selection, because it’s not a patch on the latest gin bar that’s opened; ready-meals looks samey vs. what wagamama has to offer; vegan and vegetarian ranges feel half-hearted compared to the menu in specialist cafés.

Previously loved stories fall flat

We’re increasingly being tempted by niche, exciting start-ups – think of a coffee van by the station; a gourmet burger stand at a Christmas market, or even farmers’ market delivery boxes. The rules of trust are being re-written, as it’s no longer so important to have an impressive back story, having served customers for over 100 years. Now, we seek care, discerning selection and passion. What these entrepreneurs’ stories lack in heritage, they make up for in obsession.

Put nit-picking aside, perception is reality

It feels unfair after all, no one can feed a family from Greggs, buy every meal from Deliveroo or replace a good cup of tea with a menu of hot drinks to rival the nearest too-trendy-for-its-own-good coffee house. But this is customer perception, and rarely is it all that fair. The important, and unfortunate thing is for customers, perception is reality. They’ll complain about quality they previously thought was great, not because the supermarket has altered its ingredients, but because their notion of good quality has been reimagined.

Up the ante, like you mean it

All this pressure on supermarkets, and yet the biggest message we hear over and over – aside from lowering prices – is ‘making shopping easy’. And easy is good, of course it is, we see so many brands triumph by making life easy. But we can’t help but wonder if this is enough? In a sector with so many pressures, and with so much innovation already in the crusade to be ‘easy’, can this really cut through?

Charm distinctively or live invisibly

We believe it’s the feel-good moments and the memorable ones that make the difference: an incredible product, an inspiring idea, an immersive experience. Of course, almost always, these come with enormous operational challenges – the trick is to spot the ones worth the headache, rather than avoiding them all in the guise of simplicity and ease. Don’t bother asking customers what they want, they’ll ask for a nicer chair in the café, and it won’t change a thing. Instead, understanding what makes customers feel good and build ideas from there.

Is the food innovation bubble about to burst?

Remember the frenzy around the Waitrose hidden orange Christmas pudding? When a pudding you could buy in store for under £15 started selling on eBay for £250? Unbelievable. It was almost 10 years ago. That’s even more unbelievable.

This is how food innovation used be – one or two products with a tempting (but not too dramatic) twist. They were super exciting – they sold out fast, drew the attention of food critics and made the newspapers.

Now, innovations are more spectacular than ever, miles from the old innocent times of extortionate orange puddings. Today, it feels almost every product has a twist, and sometimes a giant, unrecognisable U-turn. We watch hosts obsess over the assembling of several varieties of sliders and miniature hot dogs in their party food selection. We spot a new variety of every favourite: sage and onion Yorkshire puddings, honeyed parsnips, chestnut and pancetta brussels and giant pigs in blankets. Have we gone too far? Does this have the air of the Rowan Atkinson scene in Love Actually?

Source: Aldi
Source: Iceland

More than ever, Christmas and all of its surrounding celebrations are taking place at home. In a world where we seek experiences over things, and photos for Instagram above anything else, there’s naturally a role for immersive food and drink. But we predict that, as a tough and turbulent year draws to a close, we’ll look for comfort in tradition, in crowd-pleasers that bring us together with simple pleasures.

Rather than over-innovated products, we predict those which more closely represent loved traditions will win.  Some gentle twists on a favourite will, granted, be popular. We’ll also find newness by discovering traditions from overseas – Aldi and Lidl in particular will help us there. The biggest messages we predict will gain attention by delivering innovation via specialness – messages of premium ingredients and quality techniques will cut through. This year the battle for best pudding won’t lie in a hidden orange, but the amount of alcohol and length of time maturing. Lidl looks set to win, matured for 24 months but we doubt you’ll be able to make a killing with it on eBay though.

Report 2 just landed! See consumers’ reactions to all the Christmas ads

Grim or grand? Get the most up-to-date read on how the nation feels about Christmas

Well we knew it was looking tough, but this is surprising…..! Discover how the nation feels right now, their Christmas spending plans and how the Black Friday battle looks set to pan out. Get the comprehensive view on consumers’ reaction to all the big Christmas ads and see if your brand is really hitting the spot in terms of driving feel-good and memorability.

In report 2 we analyse the feelings and behaviours of 4,000 UK consumers to reveal the 6 big stories you need to know about right now.

What do I get?

You get a story-led report, written by our senior insight experts, which will arm you with winning strategies. We’ve combined survey data analysis, qualitative research and social intelligence to give you the big picture and the smallest details on how Christmas is shaping up and what people want.

You really don’t want to miss this analysis of how the nation’s emotions are impacting Christmas 2019 vs. last year – including:

  • How consumers really feel right now and what this means for Christmas plans
  • Predicted spend and what’s driving it
  • Christmas celebrations and intentions
  • The battle of Black Friday – reactions and intentions to the big event
  • Overall reaction to the big Christmas ads – self-indulgent or want more?!
  • Underlying themes to the winning and losing Christmas ads
  • Where each of the big ads sit on our Boom! Framework – designed to assess feel-good and memorability

How much?

  • Report 2 is only £3,950 for over 40 slides of insights and recommended strategies.
  • Reports 1, 3 and 4 are also charged at only £3,950 each.
  • Or you can get all 4 reports for just £11,500! (saving you £4,000)

Each report is based on a sample of 2,000 nat. rep UK consumers plus qualitative interviews throughout the Christmas period.

What do reports 3 and 4 cover?

Parts 3-4 will capture consumers’ feelings, wants and actions at the next 2 critical stages in the Christmas journey. See more detail below:

Report 3: reality replaces dreams

  • Deep dive into Black Friday
  • Brands succeeding
  • Response to the big advertising campaigns
  • Emerging winning tactics and hot buttons pressed

So you can gauge the strategies which are hitting home and identify final tweaks to optimise your performance

Released 13 Dec ‘19

(Fieldwork 3-8 Dec)

Report 4: winners and losers revealed

  • Winners/losers and why
  • How hopes played out
  • Stated/revealed importance
  • Pain points in Christmas journey
  • Key emotions played to/missed
  • Outlook for 2020

So you can get great plans in place for Christmas 2020

Released 10 Jan ‘20

(Fieldwork 28 Dec-6 Jan)

Want to buy?

Simply email or enter your details below

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be the Visionary: Driving impact from insight

We invited some of our clients with the most senior and demanding roles in insight to discuss the challenge of using insight to drive action – here’s the inside track on their toolkit.

Back yourself

Be the initiator! It could be that no one else in the business is talking about something you have identified as important yet. Your deep customer knowledge, firmly rooted in data and fresh insights, gives you an unrivalled ability to challenge thinking and spot chances for this understanding to add real value. Maximise the impact of insight updates by leading the decision on which hot topics to pursue. Projects begun, owned and driven by insight teams are often the most talked about and powerful.

Influence the influencers

Optimise your talent for bringing teams together, uniting work streams and tuning into different cultures, needs and wants. Sharpen your antennae for picking up on the questions that face each part of the organisation – so that your expertise can gain traction amongst stakeholders and shape decisions. Here your personality could be a big part of gaining influence!

Play to their biases

Note stakeholders’ irrational biases as you do customers’. We all have them! Use learnings from the field of behavioural economics to grab attention and persuade them to act. For example: making things as easy as possible, or evoking a sense of FOMO.

Show them the money

Showcase the commercial opportunity or risk. Putting a £-value next to problems and solutions always grabs attention! Use multiple data sources whenever you can as this means predictions about an action’s commercial benefits are more likely to be accurate and believed.

Design meetings to pack a punch

Stimulate talk and collaboration with pre-reads that don’t have to be reads! Instead ask your audience to pre-watch or pre-listen via video or podcasts. Allow time and space for discussion. And, of course, for longer sessions the magic ingredients are a nice room, good coffee and cakes!

Make it accessible

Keep things simple. If you stick to 1 – 2 big messages or a small range of bite-sized updates your work has far more chance of being remembered. Making customer data and resources easily accessible is a must.