When's the Busiest Period for Christmas Decorations?

Lorna Rose Gill Posted by Lorna Rose Gill

Christmas is just around the corner, and holiday decorations are big business. When it comes to advertising, how have British retailers ranked in online paid search over the past few weeks, and when do they start bidding?

Amazon dominated paid search advertising in all variants of searches for christmas decorations, and, as such, it has been excluded from this analysis to allow a clearer view of how other retailers fared.

Keywords Containing “Decorations”

Looking at three top performing retailers for the analysed keywords – Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, and 24Studio – the keywords they bid on included christmas decorations, christmas decorations 2013, christmas decorations christmas, debenhams christmas decorations, xmas decorations, asda christmas decorations, and christmas decoration.

John Lewis and Marks and Spencer bid on all of the above keywords, while 24Studio only bid on the first three. With our keyword analysis expanded to include the entire set of competitors with relevance to Christmas decorations, the following results were found:

Organic Share of Voice (SOV)

The current organic SOV rankings (as of December 2014) are led by Tesco with 18.35%, Ebay with 17.14%, and John Lewis with 15.75%.

Over the past year (between November 2013 and November 2014) Tesco has never ranked lower than second, only surpassed by Ebay between early January and mid-May. The manual penalty Google handed down the company in mid-May sent Ebay tumbling from its top position with 25% SOV down to 15%. It had further declined to 12% by November.

Other retailers performed fairly consistently, with only two dropping out of the organic rankings altogether: Homebase between March and September and Marks and Spencer in early September. Both of these retailers started ranking once again for organic SOV around mid-September.

[lightbox rel=”group1″ width=”860″ href=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/ChristmasdecorationsSOV-organic.png” title=”Christmas decorations SOV organic” src=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/ChristmasdecorationsSOV-organic.png”][/lightbox]

Paid SOV

Currently, the top three retailers in terms of paid SOV are 24Studio (23.47%), Debenhams (12.14%), and IdealPrice (4.97%).

In general, spending on paid search in relation to Christmas decorations tends to pick up starting in July and, as you might expect, drop off in January. 24Studio, however, slightly extended those dates to obtain a longer window in which they could run ads with less competition.

Looking back at the same one-year period, each retailer’s paid SOV results differed considerably from organic results. John Lewis and Notonthehighstreet performed most consistently across paid and organic search, ranking 3rd and 4th in the paid search rankings and 2nd and 4th in the organic search rankings, respectively.

24Studio did not rank in terms of organic SOV, but ranked highly for paid search SOV throughout the year. It floundered a bit in the run-up to Christmas 2013, as John Lewis and Marks and Spencer took the top two spots between November and mid-December. However, 24Studio regained the top position soon after, and held it until the beginning of November 2014. Across this time frame, Marks and Spencer and John Lewis placed 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

Current data shows 24Studio still retains the highest paid SOV, while Marks and Spencer and John Lewis both hold rather insignificant shares of voice, suggesting that they are following the same strategy – and thus, seeing the same results – as last year when their shares fell off a cliff at the beginning of December.

[lightbox rel=”group1″ width=”860″ href=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Christmasdecs-SOV-paid.png” title=”Christmas decorations SOV paid” src=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Christmasdecs-SOV-paid.png”][/lightbox]

Ad Copy Analysis: Debenhams vs. 24Studio

Of all retailers in this sector (not counting Amazon), Debenhams had the highest number of top-performing paid search ads. Disregarding the online marketplace giant, Debenhams scored the top two ads, and they are outlined below.


Running for two days, Debenhams’ top ad ranked at an average position of 1.3. Between the 1st and the 2nd of January 2014, it garnered 7,570 clicks and was displayed with 41% frequency.

Decorations at Debenhams – Debenhams.com
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Debenhams’ number two ad ranked at an average position of 1.5. Although it had roughly 20% more clicks, it ran for seven times longer and cost just under double the amount to run.

That said, this ad’s performance was undeniably impressive, as it had 9,107 clicks and displayed with 25% frequency. It appears to have been a replacement for the first-ranked ad, since it ran from the 2nd until the 16th of January 2014.

Debenhams Christmas Sale – Debenhams.com
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24Studio also ran a high-ranking paid ad, with an average position of 1.7. This ad ran from the 1st all the way until the 31st of January 2014, received 4,184 hits and displayed 72% of the time.

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Given the patterns that clearly developed over the past year, we can safely conclude that the paid search market for Christmas decorations is highly competitive, with spending a key driver of performance.

Source: Adthena observational estimates, no client data used in this blog post

About the author

Lorna Rose Gill
Lorna Rose Gill
Lorna is responsible for acquisition marketing at Adthena, communicating their award-winning product and generating demand. She has developed her career in fast-paced, start-up environments, including two tech track 100 companies. She is curious and passionate and likes to find stories in data and technology.