u've got mail

Dec 13, 2019

Christmas in a shopping cart

Strong promotions (51%), higher spending per visit (+15%) and the tradition associated with Christmas make this the most important period for sales in FMCG

 Lisbon, December 2019 - The approach of the festive season associated with the Christmas period brings families together around the table and drives the purchase of gifts, making this the most important period of the year for sales of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), which peak in the week before Christmas.

The importance of Christmas is driven by an increase in the amount spent per purchase (+15%) and not by the number of visits to stores, which remains stable compared to the rest of the year. This month continues to see more promotions than the rest of the year (51% at Christmas). versus 47% on average for the year), and the promotional impact is already continuously very high in the domestic market.

Christmas promotions

The households with the highest Christmas consumption figures are more senior households with no children in their care - inactive housewives, over 54, with one or two members and no children. This is the profile of households that will welcome their families for Christmas celebrations, which demonstrates the importance for these consumer segments of a tradition of socializing that is still preserved.

The weight of tradition is also revealed in the categories that are most popular at this time of year. Bonbons take the podium - 61% of the year's total bonbon sales are concentrated in the Christmas period. The Portuguese continue to buy in hypermarkets and supermarkets many of their Christmas gifts related to food, drink and other categories. toiletteAs can be seen from the importance of purchases of bonbons, chocolate figurines, cologne, liqueurs and other drinks and assorted cookies, among others.

Tradition is still what it used to be on the Portuguese shopping list

Among Bonbons, the big highlight goes to boxes, usually alluding to the Christmas period and the idea of a gift. At Christmas 2018, this type of packaging accounted for more than 90% of total sales of bonbons. For their part, tins failed to maintain their importance compared to the previous year, which coincides with significant rises in the average price of this type of packaging.

Cod is one of the stars of Christmas, associated with our country's gastronomic tradition. As it is a fundamental product of our gastronomy, its consumption is relevant throughout the year, in a more homogeneous way than the other categories included in the Top 15 sales. Even so, dried cod is part of the Top 15 categories with the greatest importance at Christmas.


There is a clear distinction between consumer profiles, associated with different lifestyles, income levels and geographical contexts. In the country's main metropolitan areas (Lisbon and Porto), among consumers from higher social classes and in households with children, consumption of frozen cod stands out, justified by a faster pace of life, a higher price for the product and a greater need for more practical solutions. On the other hand, in rural areas of the country, in older households and among consumers from lower social classes, Dried Cod is still predominant.

The consumption of Dried Cod and Frozen Cod also shows different purchasing behaviors. Requiring a more planned purchase, given the need for greater preparation of this item, Dried Cod begins to increase its sales around a month before Christmas, a trend also contributed to by the promotions that exist at this time. It is in mid-December that sales of dried cod reach their peak. On the other hand, Frozen Cod, a product related to Convenience and a less planned purchase, peaks closer to Christmas.

New Year is a key time for consumption

The end of the year and New Year's Eve is also a period of celebration, which means consumption, particularly of food and drink.

The Top 15 most important products on New Year's Eve are, unsurprisingly, Fresh Seafood and Sparkling Wine. Other products associated with the festivities, such as alcoholic drinks, cakes, pâtés, toast and dried fruit, among others, are also worthy of note during this time of conviviality and celebration.

According to Marta Teotónio Pereira, Senior Client Consultant According to Nielsen, "the two celebrations that mark the end of the year continue to be of considerable importance and the effort made to have moments of conviviality helps to drive the consumer spending that we see in the market during this period. The existence of products traditionally consumed at this time means that they inevitably find a place on the table and under the Portuguese Christmas tree. December is therefore a month of significant gains for brands and retailers, in one of the key moments for consumption in the year and one that contributes most to the annual sales results in the national market."


About Nielsen:

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global data measurement and analysis company that provides the most complete and reliable insight into consumers and markets around the world. Nielsen is divided into two business units. Nielsen Global Media, the truth indicator for media markets, provides the media and advertising industries with unbiased and reliable metrics that create a shared understanding of the industry necessary for markets to function. Nielsen Global Connect provides FMCG brands and retailers with accurate, actionable information and insights and a complete view of a complex and changing marketplace that companies need to innovate and grow.

Our approach combines original Nielsen data and other sources of information to help global clients understand what is happening now, what will happen in the future and how to act on this knowledge.

An S&P 500 company, Nielsen is present in more than 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world's population. For more information, visit https://www.nielsen.com/pt/pt/.



+351 211 926 120
(national fixed network call cost)