Marketing driving business growth, retail footfall, generative AI: 5 interesting stats to start your week

We arm you with all the numbers you need to tackle the week ahead.

Most marketers don’t think marketing’s impact on growth is understood by leadership

Less than a quarter (23%) of marketing professionals strongly believe senior leadership recognises customer marketing’s impact on business growth.

Senior marketers report that proving marketing’s value to protect budgets is their biggest source of stress. A lack of belief from senior leadership in marketing’s ability to drive growth appears to be fuelling a vicious circle, with almost seven in 10 (68%) reporting inadequate resources and funding restricting marketing’s ability to drive growth.

The lack of resources means over a third (36%) of marketers admit they’re still four or more years away from achieving a ‘true customer-first approach’. Over two-fifths (44%) believe their company’s approach to personalisation is unsophisticated.

The vast majority (81%) of senior marketers working in UK-based brands say they can’t easily access the customer data they need to personalise and target campaigns.

Source: Plinc

Retail footfall drops in December

Retail footfall dropped by 5% last month versus December 2022 levels, as wet weather meant shoppers chose to spend time shopping online.

The drop in shopper footfall is also a steeper decline than the previous month. November 2023 saw footfall decrease 0.9% compared to the previous year.

While wet weather was blamed as a deterrent for shoppers, shopping centres saw the steepest decline in foot traffic last month, at a decrease of 7.4%. High street shops and retail parks saw lower, but still significant declines, at 4.2% and 4.8%, respectively.

“December’s heavy rain left many shoppers reluctant to brave the elements, who instead opted to browse online before making final purchases, or shop online altogether,” says British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson. “This led to a substantial decline in footfall levels compared to December 2022, when there was significant pent-up demand for in-store shopping post-Covid restrictions.”

While the overall picture for shopper footfall was somewhat disappointing, discounting events did drive foot traffic. Boxing Day saw footfall improve 39.2% week on week.

Source: British Retail Consortium- Sensormatic IQ

AI ‘most important’ consumer trend for over half of brands and agencies

More than half (57%) of leading brands, agencies and media providers cite generative AI as the most important consumer trend for the coming year, according to a survey by Mediaocean.

Where brands, agencies and media owners believe generative AI could be most useful has shifted in recent months. In April 2023, copywriting (59%) was the most popular area where survey respondents believed AI could be usefully applied. But in the most recent November survey, marketers now believe data analysis (39%) and market research (35%) will be the most fruitful areas for AI’s use.

Generative AI has also displaced the metaverse as the most important consumer trend for many marketers. In October 2022, over a third (34%) thought the metaverse was the most important consumer trend for the year ahead, but in the most recent survey, just 16% thought this.

Source: Mediaocean

Financial security was a priority for British consumers in the lead up to Christmas

Before Christmas, almost two-thirds (64%) of consumers reported prioritising money management over the festive season. That focus seems to have paid off, with 14% more consumers reporting they were able to rely on disposable income left over after buying essentials to fund Christmas this year, rather than leaning on overdrafts or credit cards.

In 2022, one in four (25%) British consumers reported using their credit card to fund Christmas, while 12% used buy now, pay later (BNPL) schemes, like Klarna or Clearpay. Use of credit cards and BNPL schemes declined by 13%. Use of overdrafts also declined by 50% versus 2022 levels.

Nearly one-third (28%) more consumers believe they will have any Christmas debt paid off by February this year, while last year many were faced with the prospect of still paying it off at Easter time.

Source: Lowell

UK shoppers spent over £24bn online during Christmas period

UK shoppers spent £24.4bn online over the holiday period, which brings the total spent online in 2023 up to £111.2bn.

The total spent over the festive period represents a 3.7% increase versus the 2022 Christmas season. Online spend across the whole of 2023 was down by 1.3% versus 2022 levels, when shoppers spent £112.7bn online.

Discounting days represented the biggest days of consumer online spending, both for the Christmas season and for 2023 overall. Black Friday was the biggest online shopping day of the year, with shoppers spending £1.04bn, up 4.1% year over year.

Cyber Monday 2023 saw sales grow by 7.4% versus the same day last year, to £881m. Boxing Day sales online also increased, with £461.8m spent, a 4.4% increase versus 2022.

On average, online prices over the November and December holiday season were discounted in the range of 11% when compared with pre-holiday season levels, with the deepest discounts falling on Cyber Monday.

Source: Adobe Digital Insights