How will the world cup impact retail sales this Christmas?

Written by 
Dee Set Staff
15 November, 2022

The last quarter of 2022 is set to be one of the busiest periods in memory. 

With Christmas and seasonal sales causing their annual hikes in demand, as well as the never-seen-before winter World Cup, it’s safe to say that retailers are under serious pressure to get their strategy right from the start. 

But what impact will the 2022 Qatar World Cup have on retail sales this Christmas?

Carry on reading to find out what our experts have to say on the matter, or get in touch with us to learn how you can tackle these challenges head-on. 

Why is the 2022 World Cup taking place in the winter?

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be the first tournament in history to be held during the Northern Hemisphere’s winter months, due to the scorching heat that the Middle East is commonly subject to during the summer months when the World Cup would usually take place. 

In June and July (the usual months for the World Cup to occur), the temperatures in Qatar regularly hit the high 30s and low-mid 40s degrees celsius, which would pose serious safety concerns for every athlete, official, employee, and supporter attending the event.

As such, the decision has been made to hold the first-ever winter World Cup, which will see the tournament begin in November and carry through to December, when temperatures are expected to be far more manageable, with estimates showing figures of around 23 degrees Celsius. 

What does this mean for Christmas retail?

As you can imagine, this poses a huge challenge for retailers. 

Christmas is one of, if not the, biggest events of the year for stores across the UK. 

As is the World Cup when it comes around every four years. 

With the World Cup occurring in the summer and Christmas happening in the winter, these two events have never directly impacted each other in retail terms, so this is a completely unprecedented event that’s been incredibly difficult to plan for.

But planning is going to be a key factor in every retailer’s ability to tackle the issue and keep things running smoothly. 

Experts are predicting that these two events happening side by side will pose several challenges for both retailers and the consumers that frequent their stores.

Here are some of the key impacts that we’re predicting…

Q4 is one of the busiest periods already 

As we’ve already touched upon, this is one of the busiest retail periods on the calendar already, but with the World Cup adding to this, we’re expecting to see a level of demand that’s unlike anything before. 

As a retailer, you must understand where you may face issues during this high period of demand. 

Certain product ranges are expected to see huge increases in purchases, particularly goods usually associated with home gatherings such as multipack soft drinks, multipack alcohol, and sharing platter food such as pizza, nuts, crisps, and other consumables alike. 

We expect to see this trend continue with this winter’s event, with more people choosing to watch games from their homes due to factors such as weather, costs, and convenience.

If you’re anything like us, the first thing that springs to mind is the difficulty that this poses when factoring in HFSS guidelines. 

Essentially, retailers are going to find themselves in a situation where they’re unable to display their most in-demand products in the most prominent display locations in their stores

There will also be restrictions relating to the ways that these items are promoted, too, which may also impact consumer behaviour

To tackle this issue, retailers must focus on their in-store display strategy and stock replenishment processes - these items will fly off the shelves and if consumers are faced with empty shelves, there’s a huge opportunity missed. 

Flexibility is going to be key

As we’ve covered in one of our recent articles, one of the key focuses for any retailer looking to maximise their sales is the principle of availability. 

By ensuring that products are available, you’re maximising opportunities for shoppers to make the purchase decision. You need to remember this fact:

Consumers are looking to be persuaded to buy and you lose your chance to persuade when your shelves are empty. 

Of course, you’re going to need to react to the varying levels of demand between World Cup products and Christmas products very carefully during this period. 

The demand for each type of item could change at the drop of a hat - we expect that customers will be looking for Christmas items immediately after the home nations are no longer active in the tournaments, so you need to prepare your stores to be ready to handle this changeover as soon as this occurs. 

But it won’t be a small job and you’ll need all hands on deck. 

The World Cup will likely bring with it a full range of promotional decorations, World-Cup-specific products, and promotions that specifically relate to the tournament, which will all need to be removed and replaced by the like-for-like Christmas items that consumers will be looking for. 

And that leads us on to our next key impact…

Expect Christmas shopping to happen later than ever 

With shoppers budgeting for their World Cup spending, with little knowledge of how far their respective country may progress, we’re expecting Christmas shopping to happen at the very last minute this year. 

The World Cup officially concludes on Sunday 18th December, which leaves just one-week post-tournament for consumers to complete their Christmas shopping, so we predict that stores will be incredibly busy for this week. 

Stock will be flying off of shelves, promotional items will be snapped up rapidly, and additional staff may be required to handle this huge shopping surge. 

For retailers, we expect visual merchandising to play a key role in influencing consumer behaviour this winter, with many shoppers looking to wrap up their gift-buying journey as quickly as possible.

Of course, this may not be the case for every shopper and we may also see a large surge of Christmas shopping happening before the World Cup kicks off on 20th November. Those who can afford to do so will likely look to conduct most of their gift buying before the tournament to save costs and avoid the manic rush in the week leading up to Christmas Day. 

The cost of living crisis makes promotions more important than ever

But perhaps the most important factor that retailers need to consider over the next couple of months is the impact that this influx of social events will have on the finances of the general public, who have already been hit with considerable financial difficulties in recent months

For many UK-based retailers, this will likely mean one thing - promotional items are going to be in even higher demand than expected, so keeping them in stock and available will be more important than ever before. 

Promotional products give shoppers the chance to cut their costs when purchasing and given the external circumstances, will likely convince many shoppers to opt for brands that they may not usually choose to purchase. 

With so little disposable income available and two hugely expensive cultural events to pay for, it’s very probable that price will become the key factor when choosing between brands selling the same type of products. 

As a retailer, you’ll want to ensure that you’re keeping an eye on stock levels for promotional items whilst also ensuring that you’re replenishing the items on your shelves more often.

In particular, you’ll want to keep a close eye on promotional displays such as FSDUs, which will serve as huge purchase triggers for promotional product ranges this winter. 

Dodge the challenges ahead by tweaking your tactics 

If you’re a retailer, the winter presents a fantastic opportunity for maximising sales across your stores.

But to achieve this, it’s going to take time, dedication, and planning. 

Don’t leave it too late - get in touch with the Dee Set team today to chat about your retail strategy and ensure that you’re prepared for the upcoming World Cup and Christmas period. 

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