UK advertisers set to spend record £9.5 billion on Christmas season

Advertisers are set to spend a record £9.5 billion during the Christmas season, according to latest figures.

The figure is up 4.8% on last year’s then-record £9 billion and shows the continued importance of the ads during the festive period, the Advertising Association (AA) said.

A survey by the AA for this year’s Christmas ad season found that almost half of all adults (48%) credited Christmas ads with helping to spark gift ideas.

The AA added that 70% of young adults aged 25 to 34 found the ads to be the “ultimate festive mood booster”.

Many of the UK’s biggest brands have already released blockbuster Christmas ads this year, such as John Lewis, Boots and Marks & Spencer.

Celebrities have played a major role this year, with John Lewis’s ad soundtracked with an original song performed by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, Sainsbury’s featuring Eighties pop legend Rick Astley and Asda’s involving a cameo by festive favourite Michael Buble.

Still from John Lewis' new Christmas ad. The advert is soundtracked by singer Andrea Bocelli. Credit: John Lewis

The ads, which are all distinctly upbeat in tone this season, as opposed to the tearjerkers of previous years, have all arrived within days of each other, following a well-established pattern between advertisers, agencies, and media owners.

AA commercial director Sharon Lloyd Barnes said: “Christmas advertising is an integral part of the festive season.

“From offering gift ideas to inspiring holiday cheer, the annual display of brand creativity consistently entertains and warms hearts.

“One of advertising’s major roles is to help people choose between products and services. Whether it’s an outdoor ad for a local Christmas fair, or a big budget campaign for a high street brand, advertising is there to help people know about the options available to them.”

Still from ASDA's new Christmas ad featuring singer Michael Buble. Credit: ASDA

Matt Bourn, communications director at the AA, said: “The ads we will see this year will be among top contenders for some of the best ads worldwide, going on to win awards and reinforcing the UK’s position as a global hub for advertising, creativity, and storytelling.”