LONDON: Some 72% of UK consumers are expected to share Christmas-related content online this festive season, but marketers should be aware that there will be four sharing spikes, or hotspots, besides Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

That is according to a study released by marketing technology firm RadiumOne, which analysed 10m shares of gift-related content based on a sample size of 1,000 adults.

RadiumOne identified four sharing hotspots, which it said marketers "can tap into to fuel sales", and listed them as the 11-12th and 18-19th November, and 3-4th and 18-19th December.

These sharing spikes are expected to occur outside of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the shopping events that take place on the 25th and 28th November respectively.

Also of note for marketers, the study revealed that advertising is only the seventh most popular content, alongside present wish lists (30%), for the estimated 36.1m British adults who are expected to share Christmas-related content.

Festive pictures (65%) are by far the most popular content, followed by videos (49%), present ideas (45%), and sales and promotions (43%).

Electricals, clothing, gadgets and toys are the product ideas most likely to be shared this festive season, the report added, but a great amount of this sharing takes place in "Dark Social" channels, which can't be measured via web analystics, such as toys (94%) and clothing (78%).

In addition, the research revealed that mobiles have now overtaken laptops as the most popular device for sharing content online and are used by 41% of sharers.

Commenting on the report, Craig Tuck, RadiumOne's Managing Director, said: "The vast majority of purchases result from recommendations by friends and family people trust, so sharing behaviour is a hugely powerful retail signal at this time of year which marketers need to have built into their paid, owned & earned plans.

"Sales & promotions and present ideas will each be shared by about 15.9 million people. This is a real-time trigger of consumer intent and the most likely moment they'll interact with a brand at the most important retail period of the year."

The latest forecast from the AA/Warc Expenditure Report anticipates £5.6bn of advertising spend during the Christmas quarter, up by approximately £300m from the previous year.

Of the total, £1.1bn (19.8%) is expected to be for mobile-specific ads – the first time more than £1bn has been spent on mobile advertising in a three-month period.

Data sourced from RadiumOne; additional content by Warc staff