The festive season is fast approaching but new research by Shoppercentric has revealed that many in-store promotional mechanics leave shoppers feeling less than merry.

While 55% of shoppers say that festive window displays and Christmas decorations make the shopping experience more enjoyable, 40% said that Christmas music put them off shopping.

Staff in Christmas hats also got the thumbs down from shoppers with more than 60% saying that hats would stop them from spending.

Shoppercentric managing director Danielle Pinnington said it was important that retailers “got the balance right”.

“Visual ambience is clearly the key. Displays and decorations should be rolled out first in early to mid-November. Music and hats are more polarising so should be used in a more targeted way – perhaps keeping the music to in-store events or the weekends or evenings in December. It is when doing everyday shopping and hearing the music that it starts to grate. Hats are for even later in the day – perhaps just for Christmas Eve,” she said.

The survey, which was carried out in the last week of September, also found that two in five shoppers had already noticed Christmas displays in-store and of those who had started their Christmas shopping, 19% had been triggered to make a purchase.

The survey also highlighted the potency of festive promotional leaflets, with just under a quarter of shoppers saying that leaflets through the door prompted them to buy.

Dan Cock of Whitstone stores is Holsworthy, Devon, is a staunch advocate of promotional leaflets. “We find them hugely effective, especially at this time of year as shoppers start to stock up in advance on festive goodies,,” he said. “We get shoppers coming in with the leaflets in hand and the products that they want to buy circled.”

In terms of social media, 12% of shoppers said they were influenced by festive promotions on Facebook and 4% on Twitter.