Business & Industry

Dec 1, 2017

BILLIONS OF EUROS IN MOVEMENT

Balls, stars, twinkling garlands, angels, bells, snowmen, ribbons, pine cones, among other numerous decorations and lights, make the Christmas tree the central element of all the Christmas decor. An industry that employs thousands of workers and moves billions of euros.

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By SAMIR NABIL

It's Christmas. Family reunited, tree mounted, supper served... gifts do not become so important, right? Wrong. For the majority of the interviewed to a survey by agency McCann, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without presents. According to the study, the memories delivered to family members and friends consume the time, money and patience of consumers in this time of year – often, even more than decorating the house and supper itself. But, even so, they cannot cease to exist.

The pace of Christmas and the end of year parties are the dates which make the market move, a real business opportunity scenario. And it is in this period that people use the search engines to find the products or services that companies offer, a perfect setting of opportunity for business expansion and attracting more and new customers.

With more than 2.5 million people interviewed in 13 different countries, the study about preferences, habits and emotions about Christmas celebrations shows that the 24 and 25 of December are seen as the most important of the year, before birthdays, new year's eve party and even mothers day.

Despite all the attention given to the occasion, business owners should not think consumers are naive. According to the study, 60% of them see Christmas as a purely commercial date on which they spend too much. Even so, running out of gifts is not an option for most respondents. 52% of them say: "no presents, no Christmas".

So, the solution is to take courage and face the crowded streets and shopping centres. This part is one of the worst for the consumer. Most people think that buying gifts is the most distressing of all purchases made for the day 24. And one of the more expensive too – losing only to the purchase of food. That's why 84% of consumers prefer to buy items that are on sale, this being the most important factor for a purchase to be closed or not. In importance, the product quality only appears after.

The favourite places are the shopping centres. In these locations the products are attractive and are on sale this time of year.

The children are those who receive more gifts at Christmas, according to research. And it is with them that we spend more too. Partners occupy second place with 29%, followed by parents and friends.

In view of these data, some market analysts suggest measures that may be interesting for the brands to gamble on this season. It is important, for example, not to cause the consumer stress during shopping. And how? Helping people to get more information to decide what to buy, and ensure increasing security in an age full of assaults and crowded streets, are some of the measures proposed by the agency.

According to experts, the most important thing is not to forget the essence of the date. "It is crucial that the brands know to respect the symbols of Christmas: family, reunion, joy, love, affection and go beyond the promotions. After all they are present all year", says the study.

FERTILITY CULT

The Christmas tree, as we know it, was born within the Germanic people celebrating the fertility of nature using adorned trees, since the 16th century. However, it was only in the 19th century that the decorative tradition spread tthroughouto the rest of Europe, much due to the influence of royalty. An event that helped to spread this tradition was the Christmas tree mounted by Prince Albert himself, husband of Queen Victoria, at the British Palace, during Christmas season in 1846. An engraving of the Royal family next to the tree, published in the journal "Illustrated London News", took the decorative tradition as far as was then the Victorian Empire.

During the 19th century, King Ferdinand II (husband of Queen Dona Maria II and cousin Prince Albert of England) helped to proliferate the custom in Portugal, where the oldest decorative Christmas tradition dated back only to the Nativity scene. With the birth of infants, Dom Fernando II began the festivities and decorations of Christmas trees to the German style of his childhood – and today still retain engravings illustrating the King dressed as Saint Claus, while distributed gifts to the family.

With the 20th century, the arrival of television and the advertising industry to make use of the figure of Santa Claus, decorating a Christmas tree came to be – more than a tradition – a real party, around which the family gathered. The excitement of choosing a tree, wrap the ornaments and Nativity figures together brings up a kind of magic, where colours, sounds, lights, smells, glows, shapes and textures mix between the laughter of the smallest and the cinnamon aroma coming from the kitchen.

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