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Walmart leads in holiday ad spend but Amazon coming up fast

BY Marianne Wilson

Amazon is doubling down on national TV ads even as Walmart and Target are cutting back.

Retail advertisers spent $629 million on national TV ads from Oct. 29 to Nov. 25, 2018 – down 4% compared to the similar period last year – with Walmart leading the way. That’s according to an analysis of ad spend, including spend on Facebook and paid search, conducted by Kantar Media. Overall, the top 10 retailers accounted for 58% of total national TV spending during this time.

Looking at the top 10 retail advertisers through Nov. 26, which includes Cyber Monday, year-over-year fluctuations were seen across the board. Walmart and Target, who consistently rank as the leading advertisers during the season, currently hold steady at the top, with an ad spend of $63 million and $60 million respectively. But they have both made significant cuts to their national TV budgets so far this season.

Conversely, Amazon has been increasing its TV advertising in recent years and is placing a much bigger emphasis on this channel in 2018, with expenditures almost quadrupling during the measured period. However, with a $35 million spend, it still lags far behind Walmart and Target.

Here’s a look at the retail ad spend (Oct. 29 – Nov. 29) from Kantar Media:

In other findings from Kantar Media:

CyberMonday: Black Friday isn’t the only victim of a decline in messaging. In 2018, retailers only spent $9 million on Cyber Monday ad messages on TV – and the money came from just 11 advertisers. This is compared to $19 million from 12 advertisers in 2017.

There are a number of possible reasons behind the lack of emphasis on specific shopping days, according to Kantar. Retailers are now often offering discounts both before and after Black Friday, creating less urgency around Black Friday on all sides. Meanwhile, high levels of fast internet access mean that consumers no longer need to wait for Cyber Monday to catch online deals.

Increasingly, advised Kantar Retail, retailers need to maintain wallet share not just during Black Friday but throughout the entire holiday season, a particular challenge during a year like this one where Thanksgiving has fallen much earlier than usual.

Facebook: According to Facebook, users are spending an estimated 950 million hours on the platform each day, making it another critical platform for driving holiday shopping. Through a partnership with Pathmatics, Kantar examined how the top holiday retail advertisers are also using Facebook this holiday season to complement their broader campaigns. Overall, the top 10 retail advertisers spent an additional $44 million on Facebook from October 29-November 26.

Walmart was top ad spender on Facebook, spending $12 million during the October – November period, followed by Target and Home Depot (both at $8 million), Amazon ($6 million) and Kohl’s and Macy’s (both at $3 million).

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Victoria’s Secret gets a lift—in consumer perception

BY Marianne Wilson

Consumers are feeling a bit better about Victoria’s Secret.

That’s according to a new report from YouGov, which found that consumer sentiment toward the lingerie brand has improved among US women aged 18-49 since its last report in April.

Victoria’s Secret’s “Buzz “score – which measures whether consumers are hearing something good or bad about a particular brand – has risen from 23 in mid-April to a high of 29 in early October. (Following some controversial remarks about women made by parent company L Brands’ chief marketing officer, Ed Razek, in an interview with Vogue, however, the brand’s Buzz score has dropped a bit, to 26.)

Meanwhile, the amount of women aged 18-49 who say they’ve recently purchased clothing and apparel from the brand has gradually increased to 24%, up from 17% in mid-April. Satisfaction scores are up. Asked whether they consider themselves either a satisfied or dissatisfied customer, YouGov’s last report on Victoria’s Secret indicated that the brand had a score of 29 among women aged 18-49. The score increased to 37 in the new report.

Victoria’s Secret’s overall comparable sales are currently down 1% so far in 2018, they were down 11% during the same period last year.

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Cyber Monday impacts store traffic

BY Marianne Wilson

Consumers were in a shopping mood on Cyber Monday, but not when it came to physical retail.

ShopperTrak looked at the effect of Cyber Monday on brick-and-mortar retail traffic on Monday and found that traffic was down 7%. This is a larger decrease than in 2017, when store traffic on Cyber Monday was down 2%.

“While most of the country is back at work and wouldn’t be shopping significantly in-stores on Monday, the difference between this year’s results and last year’s is surprising,” said Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting for ShopperTrak, a Tyco Retail Solutions brand. “Some of this could have been due to weather issues on Sunday and Monday as well as the lure of Cyber Monday.”

ShopperTrak also released a more comprehensive report of shopper behavior during 2018 Black Friday week, the period spanning from Sunday, Nov. 18 to Sunday, Nov. 25. It found that store traffic for the Black Friday week in total resulted in a 1.2% decrease versus last year. The decline represents an improvement from 2017 when traffic was down 2.3%.

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