January 10, 2018

Trends and Insights Interview – Nottingham

Written By Nikki McCaig

Nottingham city centre is one of noise, bustle and opportunity. A digital city, with diverse crowds and exciting potential, we chose Nottingham as one of our very first cities to explore for our 2017 Trends and Insights Research. Exploring the local trends, and comparing them to the international themes of Paris, Berlin and New York, we spoke to Assistant Brand Marketing Manager Nikki McCaig for her take on Nottingham’s festive retail campaigns of 2017. 

So why did we choose Nottingham in particular for Trends and Insights research?

As Nottingham is our home city, we couldn’t resist heading out into the city centre as part of our Trends and Insights Research. A city of so many diverse and exciting shops, Nottingham is a cultural hub, especially in the run up to Christmas, with two large shopping centres and a high street full of exciting retail campaigns. The annual Christmas Market is also a great tourist attraction, encouraging local businesses and small independent stores in Hockley and the Lace Market to become involved in the regional Christmas campaigns- making for some great research for the project.

We also selected Nottingham as we saw the Trends and Insights project as a beneficial way to connect Roller with our local community. Sharing our research with local stores and businesses has helped us to form strong relationships with the East Midlands retail sector, and get to know the retailers of Nottingham better for the future.

How many shops did you see during your visit?

Having an office in the heart of Nottingham city gave us a great advantage in terms of field research, as we were able to carry out 3 crucial visits to different retail areas in the city centre. On Black Friday, we were able to tackle many of the larger department stores and the shopping centre itself, visiting and experiencing stores such as Debenhams, John Lewis and M&S to catch their biggest deals and sales of the day. On our second visit, we sent out a much larger team to explore the smaller streets, exploring the local beauty and fashion sector, as well as the indie technology stores – discovering more about their specialised Christmas campaigns and in store experiences from a personal perspective.

Our third visit was a more exploratory visit, collecting Christmas brochures from the individual retailers and gaining a feel for the consumer experience as an actual consumer. On this visit, we explored the previously un-researched stores, looking for surprisingly offbeat and unexpected campaigns to describe in the overall Trends project.

Which shops in particular stood out to you from this city?

Nottingham is home to a great many stores, and so many of them contained amazing and inspirational festive campaigns. One store, in particular, which stood as being both original and on-trend for Christmas 2017, was Jigsaw, as it displayed it’s ‘Holly Jolly Lobster’ campaign. Paired with an online campaign to create ‘optimism in surreal times’, the Jigsaw campaign has worked with illustrators from the Rococo chocolate brand to build a surrealist environment, one of escapism from the troubling times of 2017. Bringing bright colours, fun decorations and wonderfully weird accessories into their shop windows, the Holly Jolly Lobster is so well represented both in store and online, it really did capture our attention and make us feel festive!

M&S, by contrast, was another great store for retail trends, as it focused on a British nostalgic classic with a solid gold Paddington Bear making a visit instore. Greeting customers as they walk through the door, the Paddington campaign is inescapable, appearing around corners, popping up in displays and peeping out from high shelves, creating that feeling of childish excitement as they bring the literary character to life.

Did you pick up on any initial trends from the shop windows before you went in store?

As you walk down Nottingham high street, there are many inviting and eye catching displays in store fronts, with colour featuring as a particularly prominent trend for many. Debenhams selected a rich, royal purple for their shop windows, John Lewis have chosen a deep sea green, and House of Fraser have decorated in a festive ruby red for their seasonal backdrop. Using these adaptations of rich primary colours, the trends of simplicity and childhood nostalgia are immediately identifiable, as well as the need for a solid, dependable Christmas in these troubling times.

We also spotted that themes of togetherness and generosity are also prevalent throughout the shop windows of Nottingham, with more family games, romantic gifts and charitable notices being found in spaces such as M&S, Starbucks and Argos. This marks a change against previous years, where individual consumerism was a noticeable trend instead of the companionship of 2017.

How do you think the retail trends you picked up on this Christmas will be reflected in 2018?

I think that continued moves towards generosity and inclusivity will be found within the retail trends of next year, as the divisions of the country – both politically and emotionally – will continue to be discussed. In terms of equality, it’s likely that more stores will be leaning towards gender neutrality with unisex changing rooms, diverse advertising campaigns and reduced gender segregation in store as well.

In terms of visual effects, as purple-toned shades are becoming more popular, this is set to be a significantly fashion and beauty trend, with both in store decor and product themes being linked to this colour. After the domination of millennial pink in 2017, Ultra Violet is looking to reclaim the retail throne in 2018.

What do you think we can expect from Christmas Trends and Insights 2018?

Based on the retail analysis of 2017, the Christmas Trends and Insights of 2018 are likely to follow suit in the themes of identity, inclusivity and diversity – but hopefully introducing more themes of British celebration, focusing on the positive elements of the nation, rather than the troubling ones. The trend of progression will possibly return next Christmas as well, with interpretations of aging, moving on and adapting following the moves of Brexit taking place later on this year. Whilst this year heralded themes of party and celebration, the retail trends of 2018 could be predicted as ‘carrying on the party’, rejoicing in what Britain has, rather than what it’s lost.

The Christmas Trends and Insights of 2018 are likely to be exciting, emotional and equality driven, continuing the changes in retail advertising already set in place by 2017.

Thank you!