31 Jan Christmas Jumpers – Retailers vs Charity
The festive season also calls for Christmas jumpers that are almost inescapable. Whether they are as lavish as luxury cashmere knits or as casual as a sweatshirt with ‘Banta Clause’ printed on it, the hard-to-avoid winter wear exists for all budgets and tastes.
However, many are unaware of the fact that the festive knitwear has made its way to Yuletide calendar as Christmas Jumper Day – held at December 14. Tens and thousands of people celebrate this annual event by wearing a jumper to schools, work or just to the store.
Back in 2010s, jumpers started to become popular – leading to Mark Darcy’s reindeer jumper in Bridget Jones’s Diary in 2001 – but now, these Christmas woollies are nothing out of ordinary.
Costing from less than a tenner to more than $100, the Christmas jumpers have now become a big part of the UK market.
But with the cheapest shop-bought jumper costing at least five times that – who is the real winner, the retailers or the charity?
As stated by Save the Children, the “ongoing popularity of the humble festive sweater” is partly the reason for their successful campaign. Raising £17m for poverty stricken children in the UK and across the globe, the event has grown by leaps and bounds over the years.
In 2017, more than five million people took part, including 13,000 schools and nurseries and 45,000 offices, the charity said.
Last year’s event raised £4.4m and the charity is targeting to top that this year.
Save the Children often teams up with retailers.
Partnering with the online giant Amazon – which is donating 20% of the net purchase price of Christmas jumpers sold – along with fashion brand Selfish Mother, Save the Children stresses that it is not essential to buy a new jumper every year to participate in the annual event.
“Everyone who signs up to take part receives a fundraising pack which includes fun, creative ideas to turn an ordinary sweater into a fabulously festive knit,” the charity says.
According to WGSN analysts, the number of unsold Christmas jumpers this year by 22 November was up 17% in family retailers compared with 2017.
As stated by George at Asda – which was reportedly one of 2018’s top stockists by the start of November – festive jumpers were first sold about a decade ago when “a lot of people were making them themselves rather than buying them”.
Meanwhile, Chief operating officer at Matalan, Greg Pateras stated the sale rise has grown by 15% yearly, suggesting they “remain a big shopping trend”.
But this is not an optimistic image for the shops, as according to WGSN, increasingly more stock is left at the stores rather than being sold because consumers prefer to “buy less but better”.
“We can’t deny the fact that customers are more conscious about consumerism, sustainability, overproduction etc, and items like novelty Christmas jumpers perhaps don’t sit so well within this new sentiment,” said Sara Gaspar, senior data analyst at WGSN.
This year is making the profit margins suffer – more than double the number of Christmas jumpers are being sold at a discounted price than last year.
A company director at Sussex, Sarah Millard says, “I also think of an environmental perspective. These things are never going to be well-made, they are not going to be reused or recycled,”
She considers festive jumpers to be a “bit of a money-making” approach.
“It’s another thing we have to do towards the end of term,” she said. “It is expensive for something you are going to wear only once, especially for children, as next year it wouldn’t fit.”
So who actually wins out of the two? The charity or the retailer?
Internet forum Mumsnet presented a variety of views, hence raising the debate.
“Charity days are fine, but £10-20 on tat that’s not actually going to a charity is ridiculous,” one person said.
Another mother asked: “Am I the only parent to think that this benefits shops far more than charities?”
While the debate was still not conclusive, “I love Christmas jumpers and unashamedly wear them all year round,” one person wrote.
And as stated by Save the Children, it isn’t necessary to buy a new sweater every year, yet the expense is meaningful. Children’s lives can be saved and they can be thrived this way, it says.