Do Christmas songs affect consumer spending?


Jose Mari Chan meme is becoming a usual trend over the social media every September. It’s an indication that Filipinos are quite excited for a long Christmas celebration that will happen. Then the moment malls open on the first day of September, the long-playing Christmas songs will start to be heard until January of next year.

Christmas season is all about festive gift shopping. But did you ever consider if the Christmas carol being played in your favorite gift shop affects your buying decision?

In the world of retail, creating a strategy to determine how the customer will spend is the usual concern of a store owner. There are proven ancient strategies that really work until now.

For example, putting a “Sale” sign technique was proven to increase sales not only of discounted items but even the ones with regular prices.

Another technique is the line of sight where expensive items should be placed on the eyeline. One signature coffee shop grinds coffee bean on a regular interval because the smell of coffee can make you want to have a drink of it.

So, don’t be surprised why even as early as September Christmas songs are playing in the malls. It’s part of their marketing strategies.

It’s no secret that music has a serious impact on our brain activity. If you are fitness savvy, playing high tempo techno music will increase your stamina in doing your exercise routine. Yes, that includes even the way we spend our money. Put simply, listening to Christmas songs put us in a festive mood, reminding us that we need to buy gifts either for someone or for ourselves.

One marketing study done in Europe said people become more generous when it comes to gift-buying if they like the Christmas song playing in the background.

Dr. Alan Bradshaw of Royal Holloway, University of London said: “Festive jingles are force-fed to Christmas shoppers in a bid to change their mood, influence their sense of time and what sort of products they buy. In other words, this is an attempt to manipulate your shopping habits in a way that you might barely be aware of.”

There are a number of factors how we form our buying decisions, but surely it is not only about the actual product itself. We are drawn to buy things with great packaging, service rendered and even the ambiance where we buy the products. For sure, music has a huge effect in terms of experience and ambiance.

In a test done by Lisa Cavanaugh of University of Southern Carolina’s Marshall School of Business, when religious Christmas music is played, people, religious or not, were more likely to spend money on others.

Another reason why we might spend more with Christmas song in the background is the nostalgia effect.

Nostalgia is associated with yearning for the past, especially good memories. Since Christmas is usually for children, adults still celebrate it because of how we remember the Season. This is why even how modern the world we are living, Christmas will not pass without the lanterns, Christmas tree, and the Belen.

And celebration is usually associated with music. Nostalgia and spending make us feel good. People who are nostalgic become more generous and forget about money control and budgeting and are even willing to pay for a higher price.

Associating music to an increase in Christmas spending is not a science-backed study. But if it does not affect us,
I wonder why even on Halloween, mall owners play Christmas music instead of creepy and heart-pounding horror music.

So, the next time you enter the mall with a tight budget for Christmas gift, you better put on your headphone and play summer music.