This article was originally published on reverb, Drake Cooper’s reflections on advertising, creativity, and trends. Read more.

Holiday Retail Sales A Little Frosty, But Brands Warmed Things Up

As we head into 2014 there are two interesting things to quickly glance back at 2013 for: holiday time trending videos and Christmas retail sales.

Every year YouTube compiles the top trending videos of the holiday season and this year more videos were produced by brands than ever before. In total five brands including Kmart, the NBA and John Lewis made the top 10. But it was WestJet who took the #1 trending spot overall with the “Christmas Miracle of Real-Time Giving” at a whopping 34 million views.

As for holiday retail sales, the season ended with an increase of 2.3 percent. While any gain is positive it was very hard-fought. Retailers achieved this only by lowered prices and continuing a reliance on heavy discounting. Things became more intense as Christmas arrived resulting in numerous shipping problems for UPS and FedEx. As Forrester wrote, “It’s easy for the marketing folks to just send an email promising delivery to a bunch of people because in 99% of cases it doesn’t matter, but it’s dangerous in the days before Christmas.”

The National Retail Federation had predicted a 4 percent rise this year in holiday spending. Overall, the industry never fully bounced back after a challenging Black Friday weekend.

But let’s keep it positive. The industry was up overall and brands did a nice job providing some year-end trending joy. So into 2014 we go…