As we said in our recent blog many shoppers are trading up for Christmas. Evidence is now coming through that trading up is often more that moving from better to best. It’s moving to luxury.

Some examples from Waitrose

To prove the point Waitrose have confirmed that they are seeing strong growth in luxury options. Customers are trading up to premium foods not just in store but also for Waitrose Entertaining.  Special events are becoming even more special.
For example during one week, sales of Heston from Waitrose turkey crown were 43% ahead of last year, while its double stuffed turkey breast joint increased their sales by 65%. Not to be left out orders for the luxury stuffing range were up 65% too.  Perhaps the ultimate proof is that on-line special offers saw bottles of Bollinger become the best-selling drink in Waitrose Cellar.

A trend that’s here to stay

I predict that this move to luxury products for special events will not be just for Christmas. More events such as birthdays and anniversaries will be added to the list. Best is no longer good enough. So what does this mean for stores?

The feel good factor

Shoppers have to be persuaded that their “event”  is a special event that deserves luxury products. Shoppers also need to be able to spot which are the luxury products and which are “merely” products in the best category.  This will require strong marketing campaigns but most critically it will also need to influence shopper where they make the majority of their buying decisions. At the shelf edge. The almost spontaneous decision to go for luxury needs some encouragement from store signage.  Shoppers feel great when they have made the decision to go luxury and price becomes as much smaller consideration.
Smart signage is crucial
Getting it right and creating this environment for shoppers can have a very significant effect on sales and on margins. Even shoppers who do not go luxury today need to know where they can get luxury products when an event comes up later. Strong signage gets this message across more powerfully than anything else.
We’ve been talking to several retailers about how best to capitalise on this trend after Christmas and what they need to do about their signage. Perhaps we should be talking to you too.
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