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Consumer Behavior Monitor: Christmas in Corona Time

In the vast majority of households, they cook for themselves at Christmas, but a striking number of Dutch people plan to order dinner or pick it up at a local restaurant. That is a small ray of hope for the hard-hit hospitality sector. Furthermore, the Christmas card is back with a vengeance. These weeks young people in particular send massively cards and other gifts. The government’s Christmas report does not look so good and that does not give good hope for the vaccination campaign. This is evident from the Monitor Consumer Behavior of Validators and VU Amsterdam.

Also support the hospitality industry this Christmas

The corona virus continues to spread rapidly and that has consequences for the Christmas celebration this year. We are forced to celebrate it at home and with only a few family members or friends. This is actually not a problem for more than a third of the Dutch. The way in which they celebrate Christmas already fit within the guidelines of the RIVM or they say they will not take this into account (7%). Yet a large group of Dutch people are also skipping Christmas this year. One in five quits the party. 40% of the non-Christmas celebrators say they will not do so because of corona and the restrictive government measures. Incidentally, about 4% of the Dutch have to make new plans. They planned to celebrate Christmas in a hotel, hotels also had to close their restaurants this week.

The Dutch who celebrate Christmas at home usually unpack with a Christmas dinner. In 45% of households, extensive cooking is done on Christmas Day or Boxing Day

Gourmet cooking also remains popular: in one in three households, the raclette grill will be put on the table. In addition, 13% plan to order or collect a Christmas dinner from restaurants that are currently not allowed to receive guests. That would mean that Christmas doesn’t have to be completely lost for restaurants. Last year, 12% of all Dutch people visited a restaurant during Christmas, it shows Dining Habits 2020 Study. Restaurants that want to make something of the last weeks of the year, therefore remind their customers to bring the restaurant experience into their home this year.

Christmas card is making comeback

“Christmas card makes comeback in corona year, but is it more than a revival?” Headlined the NOS last Monday. Well and whether it is more than a revival! Sending cards and gifts is on the rise and that also applies to the Christmas card. Since the start of the corona crisis, an average of 28% of the Dutch spend more on sending gifts and cards. In recent weeks, this percentage has slowly increased. Especially among young people. Perhaps a WhatsApp message is no longer enough for them to let others know that they are thinking about them. Since the beginning of December, about 40% of young people spend more on sending online gifts, such as a card. Because young people are the future, they can thus give a new boost to this industry that mainly relied on the habitual behavior of older consumers.

Rob Revet, brand strategist at FNDMNTL and member of the expert panel (top right of photo): ‘This is of course good news for card publishers. After all, it is not possible to have people who have already sent cards sent many more cards in a year. The Greetz and Hallmarks of this world can grow with more buyers. They are now offered them on a silver platter. That’s Byron Sharp dressed up as Santa, if you like. After that, it is important to remind people of other times or Category Entry Points (CEPs) when you can send a card or attention. ‘

Information is key for a successful vaccination campaign

It remains to be seen whether the government scores a good Christmas report this year. Confidence in the Cabinet’s approach is declining, but this may possibly increase after the lockdown has been announced. Many Dutch people still thought the corona measures were not strict enough. However, when it comes to the campaign for the CoronaMelder, the government scores unsatisfactory. The group that downloaded the app is stuck at about a third. In addition, the intention to install the app is slowly decreasing and the group that will ultimately not install the app is increasing.

The campaign for the corona app clearly shows how difficult it can be to convince citizens. The same reluctance can form a barrier to the vaccination campaign. A fairly large group does not yet know whether they want to be vaccinated. This is mainly due to fear of side effects and uncertainty about the safety of the vaccines, purely because these Dutch people currently know too little about the vaccines.

WordCloud: reactions from people who do not yet know whether they will be vaccinated.

Gijs de Beus, strategist at Friends & Foes (bottom center of photo): ‘In contrast to other studies, we have not seen any movement in the number of people who are willing to be vaccinated in recent weeks. In its campaign, the government focuses on information provision. The corona campaigns that draw attention actually appeal to our emotions. Think of this German campaign. That would be a better strategy here too. Certainly if you also appeal to the social norm and (famous) people who set a good example: follow a good example. ‘

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