The World Cup kicks off in Qatar this weekend, and despite the controversy over the tournament, it will provide a filip for the retail industry.
However, the first-ever winter World Cup is predicted to bring in less than previous tournaments.
VoucherCodes’ 2022 World Cup Spending Report forecasting that consumer spending will be down 17.1% – a £413 million drop – on 2018’s tournament.
Sainsbury’s CEO Simon Roberts says: “I’m not overly optimistic as people are watching their budgets. They’ll be managing the cost of the World Cup and will be thinking ahead to Christmas.”
Nonetheless, supermarkets are predicted be the big winners with retail bosses expecting shoppers to shun the pub in favour of watching matches at home.
Roberts admits: “We think people will spend more time at home watching the match, given the timing of the games. It’s all about helping people have a good time at home watching the game, with great value food from us.”
M&S research showed that more than half of its customers plan to watch every game, with more people planning to watch at home or at friends’ houses than the pub.
In general, more than a third of M&S shoppers also said they plan to cut down on trips to the pub in the run-up to Christmas as they go into a ‘self-imposed lockdown’ to save cash.
M&S marketing director Sharry Cramond told This Is Money: ‘Our customers have told us that a winter tournament means they will be putting themselves on a ‘self-imposed lockdown’ in the run up to Christmas, staying at home more and cutting back on trips to the pub, eating out and even getting takeaways at home.’
Tesco is also expecting to see an uptick in sales, although boss Ken Murphy admits that the timing of the tourament, right in the middle of the Christmas peak, had served up some logistical challenges.
“This is a bit of a curveball in terms of how do you plan Christmas and the World Cup at the same time?
“The good news is that both, hopefully, for England involve celebrations. What we’re doing is gearing up to make sure that people can celebrate and can get everything they need.”
How the supermarkets aim to win World Cup spend
Tesco says it has a “strong plan” in place to ensure it has availability on all the lines that are typically popular around football events such as party food, pizza, crisps and drinks.
It, like all the grocers, are going all-out on deals around the tournament.
“We know lots of customers will look to spend time celebrating the World Cup at home this year, so we will do all we can to help fans enjoy at home with friends and family,” Tesco says, promising lots of deals for football fans.
Iceland is offering a ‘Pizza World Cup Meal Deal’ in-store and online from November 14 to 28, which includes two pizzas, two sides, and a free ‘World Star’ football for £8.
Meanwhile, Asda is offering a range of products that marries the World Cup and Christmas as it expects customers to approach the season this way.
For example, it is selling a 6ft inflatable Santa decorations, complete with England and Wales t-shirts, and is focusing on the “World Cup meets Christmas party” element with party food offers.
Asda stores will be fully decked with Christmas themed decorations, as well as England and Wales bunting and banners to show its support for the national teams.
Elsewhere, football is playing a part in the grocers’ marketing. Aldi’s Christmas advert has a nod to the World Cup with Kevin the Carrot seen watching the football tournament.
Marks & Spencer is also producing lots of content around the World Cup as part of its ongoing partnership with the English Football Association.
The retailer is giving football fans exclusive access with the England team in Qatar with its online live content series Lions’ Den.
The show will be hosted by presenter Josh Denzel and will be broadcast live from the England camp every day from November 17.
Viewers will receive exclusive behind-the-scenes content with players and manager Gareth Southgate from their base in Qatar.
Crammond says: “Our partnership is all about using the power of football and the influence of some of the UK’s biggest footballing heroes to help families make healthier choices under the campaign banner ‘Eat Well, Play Well’.”
Lions’ Den with M&S Food will be broadcast via England’s Official YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Tik Tok channels.
A boost to TV sales
With consumers planning to stay at home to watch matches, expect new TVs to be on their shopping lists.
In fact, GlobalData research found that despite consumer spending in general being down for the tournament, TV sales should be up.
Electricals retailers are vying to win some of this spend.
John Lewis is offering interest free credit and a five-year guarantee on all televisions, as it expects customers to invest in technology like bigger TVs, projectors or better soundbars.
“We’re doing what we can to make things more affordable,” says John Lewis head of category for technology Steve Jackson.
“The cost of living may see customers tightening their belts, but we typically see sales of these tech items increase both around Christmas and for sporting events, so with the two falling together we’re making preparations to ensure we can meet customer demand.”
The retailer has also launched “compelling offers” across its technology range, including hundreds of pounds off selected TVs, as part of its Black Friday offer.
John Lewis seasonal buyer Olivia Clarke adds: “Given the time of year, we expect lots of World Cup viewing to happen in the home”
The department store will help customers “prepare their homes to welcome guests”, according to Clarke, with everything from World Cup bunting to football balloons and football baubles.
Currys is also pushing a raft of TV deals.
For example, shoppers can receive a free soundbar worth £399 with selected LG TVs.
Kitting out fans
Sportswear retailers are also expecting a boost from the tournament.
JD Sports says it provides an “unrivalled access” to football kits for nations including England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, France, Netherlands, and Portugal, while Sports Direct is anticipating increased demand in football products and for football-themed Christmas gifts.
Chief marketing officer Beckie Stanion says: “Key moments such as the World Cup always bring a new drive for sports kit and equipment.
“Sports Direct will be the ultimate destination for all things football and World Cup this period.”
The World Cup 2022 may not be as lucrative as previous tournaments but a good run by England – and Wales – could help boost spending and make sure the golden quarter is a merry one for retail.