Are your customers Grinches or Santas?

03 December 2018 / Published in Business

‘Tis the season to be jolly, or so they say. The idea of Christmas can be quite polarising to consumers. Some people love Christmas, some tolerate it and there are a few who would rather avoid it all together. But as a retail business, why is this important to know how customers feel about Christmas and what are the implications?

Research by shopper marketing agency, Energi, into Kiwi Christmas shopping habits, has revealed that there are five main types of Christmas shoppers. These shopper types tend to approach Christmas shopping differently, in terms of what they are looking for, and what it takes to satisfy them. We’ve summarised this information so you can tailor your shopping experience and marketing to more effectively engage your customers this Christmas.

The Five Christmas Shopper Segments


As the name implies, Santas are those members of the public that love everything about Christmas. They want it to last as long as possible, and want it to be bigger and better every year. Santas make up 25% of all Christmas shoppers.

How to identify a Santa:

  • This group spends the most on presents, buying the largest numbers and spreading their shopping out over the longest period of time
  • They indulge in all the festivities, decking their house out in decorations and taking part in all holiday themed celebrations
  • Demographically, they are more likely to be female, and in young families e.g. mothers with children to shop for


How to capture their attention:

  • Embrace the holiday season in your business
  • Deck out your store in decorations
  • Offer season specific products
  • Provide a space where they can indulge in all of the festivities



Budgeters love Christmas but do so with a budget in mind. Budgeters make up 20% of the shopping public.

How to identify a Budgeter:

  • They focus on the amount of money spent
  • They are likely to suffer some degree of anxiety figuring out how to afford  everything on their Christmas list
  • This doesn’t stop them from buying a large number of presents, but they will do so with a much lower average spend than Santas


How to capture their attention:
  • Good value - the opportunity to stock up on presents at a reasonable price
  • Different ways to manage payments (e.g. Lay-buy)
  • Consider Christmas deals and specials:
    • Price discounts
    • Progressive discounts, based on the quantity purchased
    • Free gifts
    • Free gift wrapping


Less interested in all of the Christmas cheer and fuss, they’re really just holding out for time off work. At 29% of all Christmas shoppers, Ambivalents make up a large proportion of Kiwi shoppers.

How to identify Ambivalents:

  • These shoppers are on the hunt for present-buying shortcuts and time-savers
  • They want everything out of the way quickly so they can focus on their break
  • More likely to be middle-aged
  • They leave their shopping late - until close to Christmas


How to capture their attention:

  • Recommended and popular products widely displayed, to cut down on time spent hunting for the right gift
  • If you have an online store make sure it’s easy to use and navigate - Ambivalents appreciate speed when shopping online
  • Appeal to the holiday-goer, with other products to help them enjoy the Kiwi summer


Like Ambivalents, Reluctants also don’t care much for Christmas celebrations and are looking forward to time off work. The key thing that sets this group apart is their delegation of responsibility for Christmas shopping. Reluctants make up 16% of Christmas shoppers.

How to identify a Reluctant:

  • Not wanting the hassle themselves, they often task other family members with the majority of their Christmas shopping
  • They like to buy the big hero present for the family (e.g. the trampoline)
  • This group is largely made up of middle-aged to older males
  • Reluctants are looking for help to choose their presents, wanting to make the process as easy as possible.


How to capture their attention:
  • Make it quick and easy to shop with suggestions of popular items based on family members and interests
  • Keeping large scale hero items visible and easy to find
  • Satff who are able to help them through the buying process and offer knowledgable advice


Much like their namesake, they consider the holiday to be a commercial scam. Grinches do as little as possible to acknowledge it, only looking for token gesture presents (if they give any at all). This shopper type, makes up 7% of shoppers.

How to identify a Grinch:

  • Grinches tend to be older males
  • Want to do as little as possible
  • Take the shortest amount of time to complete shopping
  • Spend the least money

How to capture their attention:

  • Downplaying Christmas aspects and providing a safe haven to help foot traffic through your doors
  • Displaying affordable gift suggestions clearly and obviously can also help them avoid feeling overwhelmed


How retail businesses use this information

So, now that you know each of these customer types, what’s next? To make the most of this information, it’s time to start looking through your data. What is your customer base? By knowing the age and demographic of your average customers, you can start planning for the shopper types that are most likely to frequent your store or website.

Are you helping Santas celebrate the Christmas spirit? Are you helping Budgeters get by within their budget? Are you providing easy solutions for Ambivalents and Reluctants?

Using the information above, you can make sure you’re ready for customers visiting in the weeks ahead.

For more articles featuring seasonal tips for retail businesses, see our Christmas blog series in partnership with Energi.

For more information on how ASB can help your business get one step ahead, visit asb.co.nz/small-business

Energi, Shopper Magazine Volume 2 (2016 Survey Data)


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