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Amazon has ramped up competition levels in Australia, offering FMCG products at prices 50% cheaper than those available at Coles and Woolworths.

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Amazon has released its Best of Prime 2018, which gives a look at how members have used their Prime benefits between October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018.

More new members than ever before

2018 has seen the highest number of new Prime members worldwide than ever before, with the introduction of Prime benefits into Australia. The number of countries with Prime has now reached 17.

More than 100 million members globally subscribe to Prime, and over 2 billion products were ordered by members in the last year with Amazon offering one-day delivery or faster.

New savings at Whole Foods Market

Members of Amazon Prime were also offered the new savings benefit at Whole Foods Market.

Prime members get 5% cash back on Whole Foods Market purchases when using a Prime Rewards Visa Card, and save an additional 10% on sale items in stores. There are also exclusive promotions for members, including buy-one-get-one-free and half-price products. Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day saw Whole Foods Market offering lower prices on turkeys and roses for members.

Customers in the US also celebrated Prime Day at the retailer with a week of savings. Members saved millions with Prime Day deals, with organic strawberries being the best-selling deal.

Ultra-fast delivery

While bananas were the top item purchased with Prime Now and Amazon Fresh, the fastest Prime Now deliveries of 2018 included a delivery of 9 minutes for an order of La Crema Pinot Noir in Seattle. This highlights the value Primes members can enjoy in delivery speeds and reflects Amazon’s strategy to ensure fast and efficient delivery for its customers to meet the growing shopper demand for convenience.

 

For more on Amazon, see our strategic outlook presentation here.

 

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

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

Iceland

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

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

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

Aldi

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

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

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

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

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

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

We look at how retailers in the Middle East are digitising their shopper experiences.

Souq.com announces dates for ‘White Friday’

Online retailer Souq.com, owned by Amazon, has revealed its ‘White Friday’ sale (a regional version of ‘Black Friday’) will take place from 20 to 24 November 2018. The sale will feature "more deals than ever" with discounts of up to 70% on products including cameras, clothing, groceries, mobiles, TVs and toys.

Deals will be customised for customers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Souq.com’s banking partners in these countries will offer monthly instalments without interest for purchases made on the site.

Ronaldo Mouchawar, Souq.com’s CEO and co-founder, commented, “Since we launched White Friday in 2014, customers have told us how much they like the event, so we are happy to be back this year with more deals and more choice than ever. We are also glad that hundreds of small and medium sized businesses are joining White Friday this year, after the positive sales uplift they saw in previous years.”

Al Meera forms digital partnership with Ooredoo

Qatar-based Al Meera has partnered with Ooredoo to drive its digital innovation and improve shoppers’ experiences of its brand. Telecommunications company Ooredoo will provide ICT solutions, telecommunications and smart wi-fi to enhance business competitiveness.

Salah al-Hammadi, Al Meera’s deputy CEO, stated, “In line with our vision to become Qatar’s favourite neighbourhood retailer, our digital transformation with Ooredoo will enable real-time operation and customer insights.”

Majid Al Futtaim acquires Beam…

Meanwhile, Majid Al Futtaim has acquired the UAE’s leading mobile wallet app, Beam. This has given the retailer ownership of Beam’s IP rights, branding and e-wallet services. The group said the acquisition will help it improve the shopping experiences across all its brands, including its Carrefour stores.

Beam was launched in Majid Al Futtaim fashion and home retail stores in the UAE in early 2018. The retailer hopes to expand the service to all Majid Al Futtaim retail stores in 2019. As part of Beam’s payment and rewards platform, customers can make contactless mobile payments, while earning 30% cashback, up to AED50 (US$13.6). Majid Al Futtaim will also expand Beam’s services across the UAE so other retailers can accept mobile payments.

Commenting on the acquisition, Joe Abi Akl, acting chief corporate development officer at Majid Al Futtaim, said, “The integration of Beam within our businesses is a landmark moment that will enable us to better serve our customers and gain a better understanding of their preferences through multiple touchpoints. We look forward to harnessing the power of Beam’s technology to help us replicate our physical prominence in the digital world.”

…and introduces contactless payment in Bahrain

Majid Al Futtaim has also partnered with Viva Bahrain to offer customers contactless payment in Bahrain. Viva Bahrain’s digital wallet, Viva Cash, can be downloaded for free. Shoppers receive a 10% cashback on purchases of up to BHD5 (US$13.20) until the end of November 2018.

Jerome Akel, country manager of Carrefour Bahrain at Majid Al Futtaim, stated, “By implementing Viva Cash we are offering customers a secure and seamless method of paying for their purchases that also saves them time. This is just one of the ways we are transforming our business to keep pace with an increasingly digital world in efforts to better serve customers and create great moments for them every day.”

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