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Monitor consumer behavior: The Dutch celebrate Sinterklaas as normally as possible

Retailers in food, gifts, puzzles and games will be particularly busy in December. It is striking that the crowds will not only be online. This week’s Monitor Consumer Behavior shows that the shops and shopping streets will also be busier in the coming weeks.

The holidays are seen by consumers as a justification for taking a break, it seems.

Parcel evening remains parcel evening

Sinterklaas is back in the country! This brings the always festive, pleasant and busy month of December really close. But how cozy will it be this year if we can only celebrate the holidays in a small group? Parcel evening must in any case be celebrated within the rules of the partial lockdown. The cabinet has not yet commented on Christmas this week, but it is clear that it will look different this year. Not everyone is happy with that. More and more Dutch people want a relaxation of the rules for the number of visitors you can receive at home.

Maybe does a good example follow? Sinterklaas may have set the tone with his corona proof entry. Almost half of the Dutch (46%) say they are going to celebrate Sinterklaas and most say they adhere to the guidelines. For 20% that is no problem at all: they say they can celebrate Sinterklaas as they were used to. About 7% are still looking for ways to celebrate the Sinterklaas party corona proof, such as online with family and friends.

Not a wonderful evening with an uncertain work situation

About 10% of the people who normally celebrate parcel evening, indicate that they will not do it this year. This is more true for Dutch people with an insecure work situation. 18% of them are not celebrating Christmas Eve this year, when they normally would. Their uncertain financial situation seems to play tricks on this. Almost half of this group of consumers is still concerned about their finances and their work situation. Fewer and fewer people in this group are left with money to put aside and more and more spend their income mainly on basic necessities such as food. This is in contrast to consumers with a permanent job: they are more often left with money and spend it more often on fun things.

Busy online and in stores

In the run-up to the holidays, various e-tailers have called on consumers to order gifts on time. The expectation that it will be very busy in the web shops in the coming weeks is clearly confirmed. Since the start of the corona crisis, an average of a quarter of consumers have spent more time shopping online. Sinterklaas can cause this share to rise considerably. More than 40% of consumers indicate that they orient themselves online for Sinterklaas gifts and also order them online as much as possible. Nevertheless, physical stores can also prepare for a busy period. The holidays seem for a relatively large group to justify taking a break. For one reason or another, 44% of Sinterklaas celebrants still go to the shop. People over 55 especially like to browse a physical store.

Mandy Merks, Insights Consultant at Validators (top left in the photo): “From psychology, we know that people tend to justify their behavior. It is not surprising that the oldest group in particular now seems to use the holidays to get away from it all, as they can probably justify to themselves that they have adhered to the measures well from the start. “

Bright spots for retail, light remains out in the catering industry

The outlook for December is therefore cautiously positive for the retail sector. Consumers’ expenditure on gifts and food and drinks remains at the same level in the Consumer Behavior Monitor as in recent months. A small part of the Dutch also expect to spend more on gifts and food and drink for parcel evening than in other years.

Gijs de Beus, strategist at Friends & Foes (bottom center of photo): “It is quite remarkable that no more brands communicate around Sinterklaas. With the exception of a number of – usually somewhat larger – retailers and e-tailers. While they already have the wind with them. Undoubtedly, after Sinterklaas the Christmas commercials will not be available again. But with a message about this typically Dutch party, you could have put yourself in the shop window more distinctively as a brand. ”

The golden times also remain golden times for manufacturers of puzzles and games and providers of online games. On average, about a quarter of consumers spend more on this than before the corona crisis.

Rob Revet, brand strategist at FNDMNTL and expert panel member (top right in photo): “The jigsaw puzzle is making a comeback and store stocks are running out. People need pastime and are more at home. Nostalgic feelings probably also play a role. A brand like Chicken Tonight is now responding to this in its brand campaign. The relevance of this may prove briefly. After corona, the world largely looks like it did before corona. “

Conditions remain very difficult for the catering industry. Now that restaurants and cafés have been closed due to the partial lockdown, they remain dependent on ordering and taking out meals. The only bright spot here is that the number of people ordering food online remains stable and is considerably higher than before the pandemic outbreak. Consumers therefore continue to order and collect. If the partial lockdown also continues during the holidays, this will demand a lot from the creativity of catering entrepreneurs. It is possible with drink boxes for Sinterklaas or New Year’s Eve and with boxes for Christmas breakfast, Christmas brunch or Christmas dinner something of the month of December can be made.

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