John Lewis’s ‘Buster the Boxer’ Christmas ad tops YouTube’s annual festive leaderboard globally - but Sainsbury’s ‘The Greatest Gift’ was most popular with the British audience, according to YouTube's league tables.

Supermarkets and department stores continue to dominate, but luxury retailers like Burberry and pure-play digital companies such as are beginning to muscle in.

As Christmas adverts, have become a key part of the holiday zeitgeist, much like the Super Bowl in the US, people across UK – and the world – are turning to YouTube to find them. As a result, we’ve seen a 53% increase in the number of UK views of the 2016 top 10 vs the 2015 top 10.

The top 10 Christmas ads of 2016 in the UK were:

1. Sainsbury's OFFICIAL Christmas advert 2016 - The Greatest Gift

2. John Lewis Christmas Advert 2016 - #BusterTheBoxer

3. M&S 2016 Christmas Ad: Christmas with love from Mrs Claus

4. Waitrose Christmas TV ad 2016 | #HomeForChristmas

5. The Tale of Thomas Burberry - Burberry Festive Film 2016

6. Christmas Advert 2016 - Get More Out of Giving

7. Big Dilemma (Asda)

8. The Argos Christmas Yetis TV Advert

9. Aldi Christmas Advert 2016 – Kevin The Carrot

10. #BootsChristmas TV advert 2016 - the gift of beauty

And the leaderboard globally was as follows:

1. John Lewis Christmas Advert 2016 - #BusterTheBoxer

2. Sainsbury's OFFICIAL Christmas advert 2016 -The Greatest Gift

3. The Tale of Thomas Burberry - Burberry Festive Film 2016

4. #Zeitschenken – EDEKA Weihnachtswerbung

5. Neste Natal, agradeça com Coca-Cola

6. Apple - Frankie’s Holiday

7. M&S 2016 Christmas Ad: Christmas with love from Mrs Claus

8. Come Together – directed by Wes Anderson starring Adrien Brody – H&M

9. TEMPTATIONS™ - Keep them busy (30)

10. Coming Home for Christmas | Heathrow Airport

Both leaderboards are ranked based on an algorithm that includes paid views, organic views and how much of a video people watched. 

David Black, managing director of branding at Google UK, said: “We see people coming to YouTube again and again to look for their favourite Christmas ads. In fact, they start searching before the ads are launched on TV - we have seen a 40% year on year increase in Google searches for Christmas ads.

“Brands know the value of YouTube as the destination for Christmas ads and when they use paid, owned and earned media together, they see strong results. They see YouTube as a platform for creativity and storytelling, where they can harness the power of sight, sound and motion to connect with consumers.

“More brands than ever are making Christmas ads that users love. Now, the likes of H&M, Burberry, Coca-Cola and even Heathrow Airport are joining John Lewis and Sainsbury’s and performing brilliantly this year.

“Here in the UK, Sainsbury’s quintessentially British commercial, playing on our love of stop-motion animation, has captured the public’s imagination. It’s great to see UK brands leading the way with Christmas ads, and exciting to see American, Brazilian and German brands tapping into this opportunity to put themselves at the heart of a global cultural moment every year.”


By Jonathan Davies, editor, Digital Marketing Magazine

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