Immedia Plc, which provides music solutions to retailers, carried out research among UK consumers to find out what they liked listening to the most and the least at Christmas.
The results show that the festive classic 'Merry Christmas Everybody' by Slade remains the favourite song to put Britain's shoppers in the holiday spirit. Meanwhile, Mr Blobby's Christmas in Blobbyland is the one song that people don't want to hear, with Justin Bieber's 'Mistletoe' and David Hasselhoff's 'Stille Nacht' not far behind.
Crucially however, while shoppers enjoy hearing 'Merry Christmas Everybody', they don't want to hear it over and over again as they go from store to store. Over two-thirds (68%) of shoppers polled by Immedia felt that the music they hear in shops over Christmas is too repetitive.
According to Immedia's survey, the list of favourite Christmas tunes is dominated by songs from previous decades. The top ten includes:
1 - Merry Christmas Everybody - Slade
2 - I wish it could be Christmas everyday - Wizzard
3 - Do they know it's Christmas - Band Aid
4 - Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Frank Sinatra
5 - Fairytale of New York - The Pogues, Featuring Kirsty MacColl
6 - Last Christmas - Wham
7 - Winter Wonderland - Bing Crosby
8 - Driving home for Christmas - Chris Rea
9 - (Simply having) a wonderful Christmas Time - Paul McCartney
10 - Let it snow - Michael Buble
Immedia also asked shoppers about the songs they don’t want to hear. The novelty track 'Christmas in Blobby Land' by Mr Blobby came top, followed by Justin Bieber's 'Mistletoe' and ex Baywatch star David Hasselhoff's 'Stille Nacht.'
Other songs in the top ten ‘least favourite’ list included songs by Gary Glitter (Another Rock and Roll Christmas), S Club 7 (The Spirit of Christmas Past) and Cliff Richard (21st Century Christmas).
Immedia plc CEO Bruno Brookes says that the results illustrate the need for retailers to think more carefully about the sounds that represent them:
“The problem is, at Christmas there isn't a sound of each retailer's brand, there is instead a generic sound of the High Street. That means retailers are losing an opportunity to target shoppers with a unique sound that provides the right aural environment for them to buy.”
Commenting on the least favourite Christmas songs, Bruno Brookes says “If anything, Justin Bieber’s place on a ‘Christmas Playlist from Hell’ illustrates the need for retailers to think carefully about their own sound. Yes, judging from our results, a lot of adults find Justin Bieber annoying.
“Yet his record speaks for itself and he has a huge fan base of (mainly) 10-14 year old girls. For example, when Bieber says 'good night girls' on social media, he typically gets over 29,000 replies.
“As a result, if you are an electronics retailer, then Justin Bieber probably shouldn't feature on your playlist. If however, you run a teenage accessories or fashion store, he might well work for you.”
According to Immedia’s scientific advisor Dr Vicky Willliamson:
“A number of psychological effects are likely to play a role in our reaction to Christmas songs, as revealed in the Immedia survey. The ‘Mere Exposure Effect’ predicts that our liking for music over time will follow an upside down U-shaped curve.
“More exposure to a song will increase our liking, but we then reach a peak after which further exposure results in increasing dislike. Hence hearing Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ a few times is pleasing. Hearing it over and over could become annoying.
“Then there is the ‘Reminiscence Effect’, also referred to in scientific literature as the ‘Darling, they are playing our tune’ effect, which could explain why many of the favourite songs on our top ten list are older.
“We enjoy music that has positive autobiographical memory associations for us, and Christmas songs certainly fall into this category; hearing them can trigger memories of happy times with friends and family.”