According to a recent Nielsen report, 9 out of 10 Malaysians believe the country is currently in a state of recession and are tightening their belts as a consequence.
This has led the Malaysia Retailers Association to lower their retail growth forecast to 4% with quarterly growth rates at their lowest since the Asian financial crisis of 1998.
Some sectors, such as supermarkets and department stores have seen quarterly slumps of 18% and with the end of the year sales and Christmas period unlikely to lift revenue, are bracing themselves for a terrible 2015.
No such issues for the UK retail industry as the Barclays Christmas survey 2015 reports 79% of UK retailers expect an increase in sales over 2014.
A far cry from 2013 when Company Watch predicted over 5,000 UK retailers would fail to make it to the ‘killing season’ the post festive months from the end of December to mid February.
With over 25% of retail sales generated in the next 6 weeks, the big retailers will be fighting tooth and nail over more than £40 billion in sales with Christmas advertising campaigns signalling the start of the contest.
Here’s a look at the first Christmas 2015 advertisements to be launched.
John Lewis – The Man on the moon
What happens – A little girl on earth looks through a telescope and spots an old man on the moon. As the seasons change, she watches him sitting on a park bench staring wistfully at earth. Christmas arrives and presents are opened while the old man sits alone. Out of nowhere arrives a gift of a telescope.
Tagline – Show someone they are loved this Christmas.
Anything else – A reminder that many people will be alone at Christmas. Aurora sings ‘Half the World Away’ originally by Oasis. A Twitter feed to keep the story going and an app.
Youtube views – 13,014,000 in the first week and 69,000 Likes.
Facebook – Only the John Lewis page.
Sainsbury’s – Mog’s Christmas Calamity
What happens – It’s Christmas Eve and the Thomas family are all dreaming except Mog the cat who is having a nightmare. In the nightmare he wreaks havoc and practically destroys the house and any chance of a joyous Christmas.
Tagline – Christmas is for sharing.
Anything else – Based on a character made famous by children’s author Judith Kerr. An illustrated book is available and profits go to Save the Children.
Youtube views – 3,526,000 in the first day and 19,200 Likes.
Facebook – Nothing yet.
Harvey Nichols – Avoid Giftface
What happens – It’s Christmas Day and a large, middle class family are giving presents. Lizzy darling has a look of concern on her face but manages to remain gracious as she’s given a series of predictably bad gifts.
Tagline – Avoid Giftface.
Anything else – A bit more cynical, goes against the grain of the other ‘feel good’ Christmas commercials. Nothing on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else as far as I can tell.
Youtube views – 672 in the first 3 days and 2 Likes.
Facebook – Nope.
Marks & Spencer – The Art of Christmas
What happens – Everything happens! Christmas isn’t just about Christmas Day, it’s about the build up, the parties, the anticipation, the surprises and excitement and finally the big day, the meal and the nap. This series of ads aims to take the viewer on a blockbuster ride through all of those emotions.
Tagline – The Art of Christmas.
Anything else – There isn’t anything else! Links to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and just about every other social media channel.
Youtube views – 1,828,000 in the first week and 695 Likes.
Facebook – Only the official M&S page.