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Christmas Markets: 2014 Review

This is the second analysis of Christmas markets from the Centre for Retail Research, sponsored by RetailMeNot, Vouchercodes,,, Bons-de-Reduction, and Deals2Buy.

Total Christmas Market spend of £4.45 billion in Europe

This is our second assessment of retail spending at Christmas or German markets in Europe. We have now found a lot more markets and have reassessed the contribution of some of the main markets. The figures provided here are the first comparable analysis of what has become in the last ten years a standard element of traditional Christmas cheer, a family visit to a Christmas market. This study, supported by RetailMeNot, VoucherCodes, Bons-de-Reduction and other members of the RetailMeNot group, estimates that there are 149 main Christmas markets in Europe and 2,623 smaller markets, as well as short-lived markets in virtually every town and village. Combined they receive a total of 302 million visits with spending of £4.45 bn million (€5,267mn or US$7.2 bn). This is a significant business in its own right.

What are Christmas markets? The Christmas market, often called a German Market (but not in Germany), Christkindlesmarkt or Weihnachtsmarkt has become widespread in the last 15 years and even Japan and Hong Kong now have Christmas markets. These markets are viewed typically as a German phenomenon, copied in many countries. A typical Christmas market involves a range of huts or market stalls selling food and drink, confectionary, handicrafts, handmade toys, Christmas decorations, meat products, ornaments, play areas, and jewellery. The theme tends to be a medieval Christmas, friendly shopkeepers, gnomes and elves, fairy princesses, magic rides etc. Christmas markets are often about families and young children and combine RETAIL with EXPERIENCE, the latest solution to the problems of the retail sector. People visit the market, they buy things, they eat and drink (including mulled wine, Glühwein) from several stalls, look at the displays and they stay a long time.

The National Pictures. Germany dominates the Christmas market industry. As well as 34 main markets like Köln, Munich and Berlin which date from around the thirteenth century there are more than 2,200 smaller markets with total sales of more than £2 billion (almost €2.47 bn, $3.38 bn) and 198 mn visits. France comes second with a total of 78 mn visitors to 28 main markets in Paris, Strasbourg, Nantes etc and 245 smaller markets, producing revenues of £698 mn. The UK is third with 8 main markets, such as Birmingham (the largest outside Germany), London, Manchester, and Newcastle with £324.5 mn sales.

The Netherlands, Belgium and Italy are all important players in this market but fall a little behind Austria.

Many of the largest cities have a number of smaller Christmas markets, including Paris with more than 15 smaller markets and Berlin with up to 25. The largest German market is probably Köln with up to 5 mn visits and the biggest market outside of Germany is in Birmingham, England, also with 4mn - 5 mn visits. Other important markets are: Paris, Vienna, Maastricht, Brussels, Krakow, Zurich, Washington DC, Quebec, Vancouver, Chicago, Dresden, Berlin, Aachen. And Frankfurt. In the UK, key Christmas markets are Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Hyde Park, Edinburgh, Liverpool, York and of course Lincoln's Four-day market.

Christmas market and lights

European Christmas Markets 2014

Source: CRR Research 2014

Top image cred Marit & Toomas Hinnosaa

Xmas tree image cred John Tucson, Arizona,_Budapest.jpg

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