Music Has Strong Impact on Consumer Holiday Shopping Experience

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Toronto – The holidays are a popular time of year for playing holiday-themed music in public places, but that doesn’t mean everyone feels the same about it. Thirty-six per cent of Canadians have left a store because of the music being played, and 29% have stayed in a store due to it, reveals the latest Holiday Music Survey1 from Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN). The poll, which was conducted by SOCAN with Leger Intelligence Group, strongly suggests music can have a dramatic impact on consumer’s holiday shopping experience.

In addition to how customers behave while in a store, music also gets them in the mood to shop. A third of Canadians say that hearing holiday music – either in stores or on the radio – reminds them that it’s time to pick up gifts.

“Thoughtful music is the shopping gift that keeps on giving – especially during the holiday season, but it can also be the reason that someone leaves a retail location” said Jennifer Brown, SOCAN’s vice-president of Licensing. “These results show us the important role music plays in creating the right customer experience, right down to the playlist being chosen. Fine-tuning a music selection to appeal to different customer demographics during the hectic holiday season can be a make-or-break business decision. When it comes to music in business, the thoughtful approach definitely counts – and has the potential to affect the bottom line.”

Additional highlights of the SOCAN Holiday Music Study include:

    • Retail businesses aren’t the only ones that could benefit from Holiday music: 64% of Canadians say that they’d like to hear holiday music in places where they need to wait (like the post office or doctor’s office), and 58% would welcome holiday music on public transportation.
    • Canadian shoppers enjoy listening to holiday music. Only one-in-10 shoppers claim to dislike holiday music and 82% of Canadians enjoy listening to all kinds of holiday music while they shop. Playing the right holiday music is a smart business decision.
    • Playlists and business targets unite! Businesses should fine-tune their holiday playlist to appeal to different targets. For example, Boomers prefer traditional holiday carols, whereas Gen Y and Millennial shoppers are more likely to want variety in their holiday music.

Holiday music is appreciated by employees, too, with 43% of Canadians saying that they would like to hear holiday music played in their workplace.
While music helps to build the experience for holiday shoppers, it can also be rewarding for the 125,000 businesses using music to generate a steady flow of shoppers. Businesses LICENSED TO PLAY with SOCAN know the true value that music can add during this time of year.

Stingray Business, a national supplier of digital audio and visual solutions for commercial environments, works with more than 75,000 organizations across Canada that use music to improve their business.

“Ninety-eight percent of Stingray customers play holiday music in their business,” said Michel Pontbriand, Director, commercial programming at Stingray Business. “The challenge is to combine the company’s brand with regular music programming and holiday music to reflect the identity of the brand. Stingray broadcasts thousands of holiday songs from many decades covering all genres of music so all demographics are represented.”

Findings from the Holiday Music Study support the fact that music is instrumental to business success during the holiday season, and also supports results from SOCAN’s recent Music in Business study.

1 Survey of 1,451 Canadians who celebrate the hollidays was completed online. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

SOCAN is a member-based and governed organization that represents the Canadian performing rights of more than three-million Canadian and international music creators and publishers. SOCAN is proud to play a leading role in supporting the long-term success of its more than 120,000 Canadian members, and the Canadian music industry overall. SOCAN licenses more than 125,000 businesses in Canada, and distributes royalties to its members and music rights organizations around the world. SOCAN also distributes royalties to its members for the use of their music internationally in collaboration with its peer societies.


For more information or to request an interview, please contact:
SOCAN: Amal Yassir, (416) 442-3838, ext.3747,
Environics Communications (for SOCAN): McKenna Wild, (416) 969-2774,