Isabelle Halscheid
Monday, 19 December 2022
4 min read
Isabelle Halscheid

Mobile ad and shopping behaviour in the run up to Christmas – 21 vs. 22

Even in the Christmas season, the ongoing crises are affecting many areas of the economy. Companies are saving on their marketing budgets, which is also reflected in mobile advertising. After years of increasing spending on mobile advertising, we saw a slight decline in ads in the social media apps Facebook and Instagram (last four weeks compared to last year). However, the strongest advertisers show an opposite trend. Amazon, REWE and Disney+ - top advertisers in Facebook - show more ad presence than in 2021. OTTO, Netflix and Warner Bros - top advertisers in Instagram - significantly increase their mobile reach compared to the previous year.


Advertising environments differ between Facebook, Instagram & TikTok

The general advertising environments of Facebook and Instagram differ significantly in the pre-Christmas period. Classic advertising structures are recognisable in the Facebook app: women are more likely to receive advertising from fashion and beauty brands such as H&M, Zalando or Bonprix in both winter periods, while men are more often reached by telecommunications companies such as Samsung, Vodafone or O2.

Amazon stands out in the meta apps: every third user of Facebook and Instagram has seen at least one ad from the company in the last four weeks. The company's focus is on campaigns for Black Week, Black Friday and special Christmas offers.

While the same companies can be found among the Top 10 advertisers on Facebook in both years, the advertising environment on Instagram is much more diverse. In Instagram, the designer outlet platform BestSecret advertised particularly strongly last year, reaching almost every second person under 40. In 2022, the company is no longer to be found in the top 10, with OTTO leading the advertising field. L'Oréal Paris also has a strong advertising presence on Instagram this year, especially in the group of women under 40.

Interesting advertising structures can also be seen in TikTok. Streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime advertise with short trailers for current series and films. For promoting the release of the blockbuster Avatar: The Way of Water, one in five TikTok users saw at least one ad for the film in the last four weeks. Comparative data to the previous year is not available, as in-app advertising data for the app has only been collected since summer 2022.

Mobile shopping is dominated by digital marketplaces, food retailer & drug stores

In addition to mobile advertising in social media, shopping apps are particularly relevant in the Christmas season. Among the top shopping apps, digital marketplaces, food retailers and drugstore apps are particularly well represented. Amazon Shopping, the ebay and OTTO app as digital marketplaces were used consistently last year and this year, with Amazon clearly in the lead. The increasing relevance of apps in food retail can be seen particularly well in comparison to the previous year: Lidl Plus, the Kaufland and REWE app have gained more and more active users over the course of the year and the Rossmann and Mein dm app also show increasing user numbers.


The effects of the crisis can also be seen in the mobile world. Nevertheless, the relevance of mobile in marketing and shopping continues to increase this year.

For the study, app usage and in-app advertising data of 884 German smartphone owners were analysed over the periods 15.11.-12.12.2021 and 15.11.-12.12.2022. For this purpose, the participants voluntarily installed the Murmuras app, which records data relevant to consumption and advertising. The sample is constant in age and gender over both periods.