Cancelled Christmas market: Bitter Christmas for shopkeepers

The announcement of a reconfinement sounded like a sledgehammer for traders. From October 30 to December 1, 2020, merchants are forced to close shop. A few weeks before Christmas, and already struggling to recover from the first containment, the decision is therefore not unanimous.

Traders on the front line of the consequences of reconfinement

A little less than two months before the end-of-year holidays and the health situation worsened, the Government decided to set up a second containment. With an announced duration of 4 weeks, non-essential businesses are therefore obliged to close their doors again. With 2020 already a difficult year, traders were counting on the end-of-year holidays to minimize their losses due to the health crisis. November is indeed a decisive month for most Christmas shopping.

Bordeaux Tourny Christmas Market
This year, the traditional Bordeaux Christmas Market will not take place.

The Christmas markets represent a significant opportunity for most small craftsmen, creators and local merchants. As a result, many rely on these facilities to survive economically. This period is often the most fruitful of the year but also the most enjoyable. Prior to the announcement of the reconfination, the Christmas markets of cities in the maximum alert areas were already cancelled. Building on their success, they attract thousands of people every year. In fact, more than 350,000 visitors visit the Bordeaux Christmas market each year. These cancellations now extend to the whole of France, a difficult decision for all the inhabitants and traders.

Digital, an effective response for craftsmen

In response to these new measures, however, traders have not said their last word. Thus, businesses have a strong interest in digitizing themselves in order to continue to operate, while respecting health guidelines. This is an even more important issue for craftsmen and traders who rely heavily on the Christmas period. Residents also find it difficult to give up small businesses during this period, despite the rise of the e-commerce giants. Moreover, according to a study, 82% of French people do not intend to cut their budget for the holiday season (1). Reassuring figures for small businesses and their digitalization.

The Christmas market represents an ancestral tradition for all French people. Strolling down the aisles drinking mulled wine, discovering local produce and designers, this is what visitors like to do. Virtual Christmas markets are therefore set up, in order to maintain this tradition despite the context. The MasterBox platform brings together French artisans and creators to support their business. The phenomenon is developing all over France and makes it possible not to give up the traditional Christmas markets altogether. This year, the magic of Christmas will be somewhat digitalized but for all the same.

However, uncertainties about the health situation are still present for the coming months. The DisneyLand Paris theme park is a testament to this, with a christmas re-opening scheduled for the christmas holidays, and a closure until mid-February 2021 (2). Will the magic of Christmas really be enough to maintain an openness in the context of the Covid-19?


  1. Study: Health crisis and end-of-year consumption,Rakuten Advertising , article of February 9, 2020
  2. Temporary closure of Disneyland Paris, information of October 29, 2020.
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