Australia and New Zealand Christmas Retail Display Report 2020

Trends, shining stars, and the pivotal Christmas retail display moments of 2020

Written by Zita Watkin, Shop! ANZ


Over the last 8 weeks on the countdown to Christmas day, the Shop! team have been in retail display watch mode taking snapshots of POP displays, visual merchandising and windows in Sydney and Melbourne. Our mission: deliver a visual report to our members showcasing 2020’s Christmas retail marketing activations.

This year, we were very fortunate to have Paul Dobbin from The Shopper Lens in New Zealand hitting the malls and high streets in Auckland also. This year we can truly say we have a report that talks to our whole membership portfolio, Australia, and New Zealand. Apart from some very impressive POP displays and windows, the inclusion of NZ grocery and discount department stores like Pak n Save, The Warehouse, New World and Countdown have helped us to create a broader picture of what’s going on in this space. The challenges of 2020 have brought us closer together, and indeed collaboration has become a necessary way of life. Separated physically by states and countries, but more connected than ever before.

When we were conducting store visits for the purpose of this Christmas report, Paul, Carla and myself all felt a bit challenged to find the shining stars, the pivotal Christmas display moments. But like with everything else this year, these challenges inspired us to search harder, look further, and appreciate the retailers that through all of this, have somehow worked with their creative, production and logistics partners to deliver to shoppers in store this Christmas.

Congratulations to all people in the business of retail marketing this year. You have created some exciting moments, with new products and reasons to visit stores.


Myer Melbourne, Giftorium

 In a year like no other with unique challenges set to retailers, we have seen many retailers fast-track new retrieval options, such as curb side pick-up and ‘buy online pick up in-store’.

But shopper experience extends well beyond the transactional level. Many retailers have redesigned the journey instore making Christmas shopping quicker and easier for shoppers to browse and find what they want.

Retail in Australia and New Zealand is “business as usual”, with adjustments to suit the new shopper and Covid-Safe environment. Myer Giftorium for example, has been moved from the 6th floor of their Melbourne store, to the store’s basement. Myer introduced Giftorium in 2014 with the premise of exciting shoppers with new pop-up shops and experiences each Christmas – new reasons to come to store each year. Giftorium was always on the top level of Myer stores to ensure that shoppers took the whole store journey before arriving in Giftorium. With a Covid-Safe environment in mind, Myer needed to pivot from keeping shoppers in store for long periods, moving Giftorium to an area that was immediately accessible (quick in/quick out).


Rebel, Chadstone Shopping Centre

Planning windows and visual merchandising this year was a gamble with the status of Christmas physical retailing like looking into a crystal ball.

Some retailers have scaled back their Christmas activities proportionately, while others that have been able to push forward with their Christmas VM plans and have put their best foot forward, showcasing their positivity and resilience.

David Jones, Melbourne


Windows and VM this Christmas is celebratory, bright and contemporary. We are seeing more ‘southern hemisphere’ inspiration in the visuals – less snow, more kookaburras and surf boards!

Telstra Discovery Centre

There are some wonderful examples of VM story telling with David Jones, Telstra and Koko Black creating strong emotional connections with shoppers. A strong ‘out of lockdown’ vibe can be felt within Melbourne retailers especially.

Myer, communications and VM

 Christmas VM can be a powerful selling tool also. Bunnings Warehouse, a destination for home Christmas lights, has created a 13-metre high light installation on its warehouse in Maribyrnong, Melbourne. The entire front wall has been illuminated with more than 200,000 LED lights from Bunnings' own Festive Lights Range.


Kinder Christmas sled at BIG W

POP displays are quite outstanding this Christmas.

Confectionary brands have put a lot of thought into their spectacular destination zones. Big W at Westfield Southland had all of the brands vying for shopper attention in vast shopping aisles that feel like a ‘confectionery high street’. Ferrero Rocher, Cadbury, Kinder, and Lindt all putting their best outfits on for the premier occasion of Christmas.

Ferrero Rocher bringing Christmas to life in stores

Brand displays appear more considered than usual and the actual quality of the executions (design, construction, and activation) has improved. It’s worth considering whether the working from home changes have allowed retail marketers more time (and head space) to plan their communications and instore assets this Christmas.

The role of the POP display appears to be growing up. Although stock holding and brand presence is clearly still front of mind for retail marketers, we are seeing more FMCG brands integrate Christmas recipe suggestions and co-locating of products to form interesting partnerships. In the meat and fresh produce zones for instance, the presence of FSDUs has grown, with brands selling condiments and bakery items. Coles in Australia, and New World in New Zealand boast excellent examples of brands like Masterfoods and Nestle sneaking into fresh zones with condiments and recipe suggestions.

Ocean Spray bringing Cranberry sauce to meat aisle

The use of “skinny bins” (tall thin FSDUs) plays an important role this Christmas. With more shoppers than ever before using self-checkouts, skinny bins give brand manufacturers the opportunity to squeeze into small places.

But it’s not all temporary displays in grocery and discount departments stores this Christmas.

Toblerone Personalisation Pop up at Giftorium.

Over the last 5 years, we have seen product personalisation become its own category of display. We had temporary and permanent displays, and now personalisation pop-ups have been added to the list.

It’s hard to say whether we have seen less personalisation this Christmas because of Covid-19 hesitation, budget constraints, or because brand manufacturers are simply looking for something different, but there is certainly less this year.

KitKat Chocolatory, blending tech and personalisation experiences

 Having said that, the brands and retailers that have pushed ahead with personalisation instore, appear to be winning with shoppers. ‘Personalise Your Toblerone’ stands out in Myer Giftorium as one of the few brands offering a bespoke gift service. KitKat Chocolatory in Melbourne Central offers a range of personalisation services, complete with wrapping and Christmas baking inspiration.

Gif snow dome at Spark, New Zealand

At the Spark concept store in New Zealand, we spotted a green snow globe device at front of store that entices shoppers to “Create a GIF for everyone on your list”. Quirky, memorable, and fun!

Nerf knows how to create interesting POS communications!

 Another notable example of a brand that appears to know its market well is Nerf. The Nerf Christmas display at NZ retailer The Warehouse, has integrated a tear-off pre-addressed present checklist. It’s a wonderfully simple display that has a strong theme and point of difference with its marketing assets, using creative brand expression.

In conclusion

Nutella with love! Complete with QR code for recipe inspiration

In our ‘2019 Retail Display Trends report’ we talked about physical retailing not being dead, but that we were in a phase of ‘playing catch up retail’. Nobody had any idea of the curveball 2020 would present and retailers and brand marketers have had to play catch-up faster than anyone would have imagined.

Our visual report showcases more transformation in the shopping process than ever before, but perhaps budgetary and Covid restrictions and uncertainly have resulted in a little less WOW than we have become accustomed to at Christmas.

Whether it be about transactional, personalisation, discounts and deals, experiential, selfie-moments, gift inspiration, or simply being absorbed by the Christmas sharing moment, every display in our report has its own story.

Pak n Save, Auckland

Please download 160 page visual report in RESOURCES. This report is exclusive to Shop! ANZ members.


PHOTO CREDIT NEW ZEALAND: Paul Dobbin @ The Shopper Lens