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We bring you three examples of how value retailers are finding new ways to stand out and drive sales this Christmas.

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Co-op is the last of the major UK retailers to launch its Christmas ad.

John Lewis & Partners

John Lewis & Partners has released its much-awaited Christmas campaign ‘The Boy and the Piano’, starring Elton John. The two-minute advertisement tells the story of how one special gift can inspire and influence the course of someone’s life. Set to the iconic ‘Your Song’, the story works backwards through Elton John’s life and shows the moment he received the special gift of his grandmother’s piano.

Craig Inglis, Partner and Customer Director, said “The ad tells the story of why Elton's piano was more than just a gift and we hope to remind customers of that special moment when they've given a gift at Christmas time that they know will be treasured forever”.

As part of the Christmas campaign, customers shopping on Oxford Street, London are invited to step into the set of the ad and experience it for themselves by interacting with props, listening to recordings from Elton John’s 17-11-70 album and having photos taken at the piano.

John Lewis 2018 Christmas advert (140 seconds) by adam&eveDDB on YouTube


Sainsbury’s 2018 Christmas campaign launched with a two minute advertisement titled ‘The Big Night’. The advert is directed by Michael Gracey, who also directed The Greatest Showman.

With the theme of a school Christmas show, the advert follows a young girl dressed as a star wowing the audience after a nervous start, singing New Radicals’ ‘You Get What You Give’. The advert also features almost 60 children from across the country, as a host of Christmas characters, some as young as six years old.

The notion that ‘we give all we’ve got for the ones we love’ is at the heart of the retailer’s new Christmas campaign.

Sainsbury’s 2018 Christmas advert (120 seconds) by Wieden+Kennedy London on YouTube


The launch of Iceland’s Christmas advert echoes the retailer’s commitment to sustainability initiatives.

Iceland has used a short film, titled ‘Rang-tan’, which was originally made by the environmental organisation Greenpeace, as its main Christmas campaign. The advert portrays an emotive animation, with the aim of raising awareness of rainforest destruction caused by palm oil production, and the impact this has on the critically endangered orangutan.

This year, Iceland’s advert will not appear on TV as it failed to secure advertising regulatory approval, and has been launched on YouTube instead. The advert has received over four million views on YouTube, and 15 million views on Iceland’s Facebook page, since its launch six days ago.

Earlier this year, the retailer committed to remove palm oil from its own label food by the end of 2018, and will promote the extensive range of palm oil-free products over the festive season.

Richard Walker, Managing Director, said “Throughout 2018 we have led the retail industry to take action in areas such as rainforest destruction for palm oil and plastic pollution of our oceans. This year we were keen to do something different with our much anticipated Christmas advert. The culmination of our palm oil project is offering our customers the choice of an orangutan friendly Christmas, and we wanted to reflect this in our advertising”.

Iceland 20198 Christmas advert (92 seconds) by Mother on YouTube

Waitrose & Partners

Waitrose & Partners has unveiled six 30-seconds Christmas adverts, which celebrate the role of food at Christmas.

Part of the ‘Too Good to Wait’ campaign, each advert delivers a light-hearted take on a number of festive scenarios, in which families and friends hurry through to get to enjoy their festive food. In the first advert, titled ‘Christmas Concert’, a pianist rushes through a speedy rendition of Jingle Bells after hearing that Heston from Waitrose Chocolate and Sour Cherry Crumble Mince Pies would be served afterwards.

During its first airing, viewers saw other television adverts fast forwarded until it came to the Waitrose & Partners advert, to tie in with the idea of ‘Too Good to Wait’.

Martin George, Customer Director, said "Looking forward to the traditions and special moments is what makes Christmas the most wonderful time of year, but there’s also another aspect that adults and children alike just can’t wait for…the food. As much as we all love our festive activities, enjoying delicious food and drink is a priority, and when it’s Waitrose & Partners food, you’ll do whatever it takes to get to it as quickly as possible”.

Waitrose 2018 Christmas advert (30 seconds) by adam&eveDDB on YouTube

Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer Food launched its 2018 campaign, ‘Discover your M&S Christmas favourite’. The advert series sees more than 60 customers and colleagues discuss a range of their favourite M&S Christmas foods, with a focus on quality and taste.

The campaign comprises of 12 different unscripted adverts – three 60-second plus nine 30-second ones that focus on specific products. All of these are timed to coincide with food shopping patterns, with the last advert focusing on Christmas Day food and fresh produce.

Marks and Spencer’s Food Marketing Director, Sharry Cramond, commented “As our customers and colleagues love our food so much, we thought we would let them tell the story in their own words.  We spoke to customers and colleagues up and down the country about their favourites from our festive range, and then we simply made that the ads”.

Viewers are encouraged to join the conversation on social media by sharing their Christmas food favourites using the hashtag #MyMarksFave. A festive Percy Pig emoji will appear each time someone uses the hashtag.

M&S 2018 Christmas advert (60 seconds) by Grey London on YouTube 


Boots has released its Christmas advert for the festive season about the bond between a mother and her daughter. The advert focuses on the mother-daughter relationship, set to the soundtrack of Robbie Williams’ ‘She’s the One’ – adapted in the advert to ‘She’s Me Mum’.

The advert celebrates the unique bond between mothers and daughters, with the tagline ‘Get them something that says you get them’.

Helen Normoyle, Marketing Director explained: “Christmas and the festive period is a perfect time to bring together friends and family. We wanted to really celebrate this special connection by focusing in on the spirit of beauty gifts showing you really understand your loved ones”.

Boots 2018 Christmas advert by Ogilvy on YouTube


Asda again became the first of the UK retailers to launch its Christmas advert, 'Bring Christmas Home'. The advert focuses on the chaos and effort that goes into bringing people together at Christmas.

The 60 second clip follows Santa and his team as they descend down a snowy mountain to make it home to celebrate Christmas with an excited young girl.

The advert also showcases a selection of products from its seasonal range. These include Asda's Extra Special Macarons, Turkey, and a selection of its George Christmas jumpers and nightwear. The retailer is also set to launch three additional 30 second clips throughout the Christmas period, showcasing more of its festive range.

Following an audition process, the advert also features some of Asda's Colleagues. Asda's Chief Customer Officer Andy Murray comments on this decision, "Our colleagues play such a vital role in bringing Christmas home for our customers, it was only right that they were part of our festive cavalcade – and Sara and Daniel have done us proud."

Asda 2018 Christmas advert (60 seconds) by AMV BBDO on YouTube


In Aldi's 40 second Christmas advertisement viewers see the return of Kevin the Carrot. Kevin is travelling through a snowy setting in an orange truck before an avalanche hits the vehicle, leaving Kevin hanging off a cliff and the hashtag #SaveKevin appears on screen.

The cliffhanger ending suggests that Aldi, in a similar move to last year, is set to unveil a series of adverts following Kevin's story. The full advert is set to be released later this week.

Aldi commented on Twitter, "Our parody Christmas advertising campaigns are famous for capturing the anticipation of the season. This year is no exception using our trademark sense of humour and well-loved character, #KevinTheCarrot, to capture the magic of families prepping for Christmas."

Aldi 2018 Christmas advert (40 seconds) by McCann UK on Youtube


Lidl launched its 'Make Christmas a Lidl Special' campaign with a series of three 20 second Christmas adverts.

The adverts reveal how a shopper can upgrade their Christmas by shopping with Lidl. With a focus on driving trade up, the most recent advert showcases its premium private label Christmas turkey, designed to emphasis its quality credentials.

The series of adverts also offer a playful twist, following regrettable decisions made my shoppers at Christmas. One lady looks frustrated as a pre-ordered 16-piece orchestra dominates her dining room on Christmas day.

The retailer has extended its 'Make Christmas a Lidl Special' campaign, offering online shoppers the chance to upgrade their Christmas meal, Christmas party or festive fun on its Christmas landing page.

Lidl 2018 Christmas advert (20 seconds) by TWBA London on YouTube


Amazon unveiled its 90 second Christmas advert which features Amazon boxes singing to The Jackson's 'Can you Feel It'.

The opening scene includes a girl decorating a gingerbread house, who then sees an Amazon box come to life. The boxes then go onto surprise and delight passers by including delivery drivers, dogs, office workers and children.

The advert places the joy of Christmas at the heart of the campaign, whilst also encouraging shoppers to shop online this Christmas.

Amazon 2018 Christmas advert (60 seconds) by Lucky Generals and Director Fredrik Bond on YouTube


Tesco launched its 2018 Christmas campaign, 'However you do Christmas, everyone's welcome at Tesco', with the first in a series of TV adverts.

The campaign builds on last year's offer, focusing on diversity and celebrating the different rituals and routines that people associate with Christmas.

Allessandra Bellini, Tesco Chief Customer Officer, commented on the campaign, "We want our customer to know that however they do Christmas, and no matter what they need, Tesco can help".

Tesco 2018 Christmas advert (60 seconds) by BBH London on YouTube


Morrisons unveiled its 2018 Christmas advertisement which focuses on key moments of the seasonal period, providing a festive family feel.

The advertisement upholds a food focus, showcasing festive products from its Market Street concept and highlighting its quality credentials in fresh.

Morrisons Christmas advert on YouTube by Publicis London  


Co-op is the last of the major UK retailers to launch its Christmas campaign, ‘Christmas is better together’. The advertisement launched on December 1st.

In a similar move to last year, the advertisement focuses on bringing communities together at Christmas.

It sees a group of friends discussing when Christmas really starts for them, whilst showcasing products from Coops private label festive food collection.

Co-op 2018 Christmas advert (30seconds) by Forever Beta on YouTube

Lidl France’s CEO, Friedrich Fuchs, has outlined the retailer’s medium-term development plans in an interview with the French newspaper Le Parisien. He discussed the retailer’s outlook for its online store and the strategy to make Lidl one of the key fresh produce sellers in the country.

Online and expansion strategies

Following the success of both the travel website and the dedicated online wine shop, with home delivery launched in September 2018, Fuchs confirmed Lidl’s intention to offer new online services. Lidl France will launch a non-food ecommerce site in 2020, mirroring the development it has made in Belgium and Germany.

By 2022 Fuchs said that Lidl France will have increased its assortment to 2,000 SKUs, from 1,600 now. Most of the new products will be in the fresh category, helping it to continue its strategy to offer a better choice to its customers. Meanwhile, 300 new stores will be added by 2030, to the 1,500 existing today, while a further 800 will be updated. To support this pace of store growth the 25 warehouses Lidl operates will have their size doubled, with half of the total area to be dedicated to fresh produce.

Quality at the right price and focus on fresh

Lidl continues its strategy of moving away from focusing on value to a one based on quality products sold at the right price. With the upgrading of its offer, Lidl is continuing to evolve its range to move it away from meeting shoppers’ core ambient food and drinks needs to focus more on its fresh offer.

Fuchs said that fresh produce, fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, fresh fish, dairy products and cut flowers generate more than half of Lidl’s annual turnover in France. Looking to the future he said that the goal is to raise this to 70% in the next 10 years. Organic is also a strategic aim, with Fuchs saying the group wants to make organic products more affordable for customers.

Lidl in France

Lidl operates more than 1,500 stores in France. It has said around 15m households shop with it on a regular basis. 90% of the products sold are Lidl’s private labels allowing the retailer to offer prices 20% to 30% cheaper than its competitors. 73% of the products sold are made in France and supplied mainly by small and medium sized businesses.

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Lidl has launched an online store in Finland. The service is largely health-focused, offering ‘nutritional supplements, superfoods, nuts and vitamins’

Around 100 products available, Sportyfeel at the heart

The website can be shopped via, with Lidl's private label Sportyfeel nutritional supplement range accounting for around half of the 100 products sold on the website. 

The range launched in Finland several years ago, with these products having a growing presence in-store. They have also been popularised through sponsorship and social media activity. Sportyfeel sponsored Helsinki’s City Run half marathon in 2018 and its Instagram account has around 20k followers.

According to the retailer, ‘half of all Sportyfeel products are manufactured and packaged in Finland. Other products come from Sweden and Germany, which produces equally high-quality goods’. Sportyfeel products are also stocked in other countries where Lidl is present, including in Sweden.

Lidl also stocks special products under the Sportyfeel Professional brand, with 97% of athletes and fitness center participants in user tests ready to recommend the brand to friends.

Source: IGD Research, shown is Sportyfeel range as seen in Helsinki in October 2018

The new online range is wider than that sold in-store, with some products like protein bars available in larger pack sizes.


The remainder of the range is comprised of other private label and branded products, including Lidl’s Alesto nut range, as well as the Finnish superfood brand Puhdistamo and vitamin products from Optisana.

Click and collect and home delivery available

Home delivery and click and collect is available, with delivery possible within one to three days. 

Shoppers can collect products at Smartpost lockers that Lidl has been recently installing across its estate. By year end, Lidl hopes to have 50 of these lockers at 177 of its Finnish stores.

Source: Lidl 

As part of the introductory offer, shoppers can receive free home delivery until the 10th of December. After this, the home delivery charge is €7.90, while delivery to collection points is €4.90

Testing the sale of seasonal products too

The website is also being used to trial the sale of seasonal products for Christmas. On launch, this includes a limited range of Deluxe premium private label products, such as Iberian hams priced up to €179

Less expensive products are also available. Some are aimed at Christmas gifting, such as Deluxe branded fondue sets, coffee and cafetière sets and olive oil multipacks.


Platform for experimentation, new products will be added weekly

Commenting on the launch, Lauri Sipponen, Managing Director of Lidl Finland said, ‘ is a platform for us to test and experiment with various e-commerce solutions. We will test some of the different products, services and campaigns in the Christmas season and next year. At this stage, this is not a comprehensive online store for food or convenience goods… We will add new products to the online store weekly so you should keep track of the site’.

Time and place relevance for Christmas and January

The launch comes just before Christmas, giving Lidl the opportunity to capitalise on this key trading period. Given the suggestion of new products weekly, Lidl may also be looking to replicate the popularity of its time sensitive promotions that are commonly seen in-store

Meanwhile, the health-inspired nature of this online store is timely, with upcoming January a time when many consider their healthy lifestyle resolutions for the year ahead. 

IGD’s 'Global retail trends 2019' in action: ‘Help me be healthy’

We’ve recently launched our ‘Global retail trends 2019’, with ‘Help me be healthy’ at the heart of these trends. We believe shoppers will be more health conscious and supporting them both to look and feel good will be a major priority for retailers and suppliers. We expect to see more innovation in this area, with Lidl Finland’s new online store demonstrating this trend in action. 

IGD Retail Analysis subscribers can read more about our ‘Global retail trends 2019’ in this exclusive insight presentation:

Source: IGD Research

Online grocery market in Finland

Lidl remains one of the smallest but fastest growing grocery retailers in Finland. Elsewhere, S Group and Kesko offer their own online grocery services, with home delivery and click and collect available. However, online grocery remains a very small share of sales here, with other markets in western Europe being more developed. 

Keep up to date with news at Lidl and other leading global grocery retailers by signing up to receive IGD’s free Retail Analysis international newsletter


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