Top Christmas tips for NZ retailers

24 October 2018 / Published in Business

Is your retail business ready for Christmas shoppers?

With over $6.7 billion spent in retail-related electronic transactions by Kiwis in December 2017 alone1 , it’s no secret that the lead up to Christmas is the biggest retail event of the year.

Research into Kiwi Christmas shopping habits by marketing specialists Energi shows that there are many different ways people approach their Christmas shopping. The time of year people start their shopping impacts how they buy and what’s important to them in a retail environment, both online and offline.

With that in mind, as a retail business, it might pay (literally) to be aware of how you can appeal to customers at different times of the shopping season. The more you understand who is shopping and when, the better you can prepare to meet your customers’ needs and appeal to their interests.

Your own data is a great place to start, look at the numbers for this time last year and keep an eye out for the following:

  • Sales spikes in line with holidays or discounts and special offers
  • Higher sales volumes in the lead up to Christmas (i.e. 3rd week of December)
  • Products that are selling in higher volumes at Christmas time may be considered good gift ideas

Use customer insight to inform your sales & marketing plans

Once you know when and how your customers are shopping you can put a plan in place to target and amplify this behaviour. Energi have prepared some top tips for retailers, based on whether your customers start their shopping early or late in the Christmas season. 


Early Shoppers (October – November)


Help build excitement for early shoppers who love Christmas



  • When the Christmas retail season opens in October, some shoppers can’t wait to get started – by the end of November, 47% of Kiwis already begun their Christmas shopping2
  • The people who start shopping in October or earlier (24%) tend to be people who enjoy shopping and the Christmas season in general2
  • Energi recommends helping people get into the Christmas spirit can attract shoppers earlier in the season


  • Reward early bird shoppers with free delivery for online purchases or  complimentary gift wrapping
  • Offer special deals/discounts on Black Friday
  • Free stocking filler, gift or decoration with purchase
  • Gamify purchases with Mystery Prizes - every 10th purchase has a mystery gift attached, or play spin and win when you buy

Late Shoppers (December)


Lighten the load for late Christmas shoppers


  • The first two weeks of December see a real gathering of momentum, with a third (34%) of all Kiwis starting their Christmas shopping2
  • The third week of December is when shopping reaches peak levels – as a further 18% start their shopping in the last week before Christmas2
  • Almost all Kiwis have finished their shopping before Christmas day, with only 1% of people starting their shopping on Christmas Eve or later2
  • December shopping can be quite busy and stressful for customers, so these people are usually on the look-out for ‘quick wins’
  • Energi suggests helping customers make quick, easy purchase decisions, to get through their Christmas shopping at pace


  • Sign-post your most popular or hottest-selling items
  • Organise selections by gift receiver type – For Her, For Him, For Boys, For Girls etc., or by gift occasion like ‘Stocking fillers’, or ‘Secret Santa’
  • Gift-wrap your most popular items, to make it easier for the customer
  • Offer a Christmas present search tool on your website that can be filtered by person-type or gift occasion
  • Price-pointed gift selections (e.g. Under $10, Under $50) or present bundles (e.g. choose any 5 presents for $75) to make it easier for those buying with a budget in mind
  • Progressive discount - the more presents you buy the more you save for those customers looking for great value

Keep an eye out for more handy tips for retail businesses in our Christmas blog series.

Statistics NZ, 2018

Energi, the Christmas Shopping Calendar (2016 Survey Data)



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