UK Christmas shopping and spending predictions

Christmas is just around the corner; the lights are shining and the community spirit is soaring. There really is no time like Christmas. With this being such a celebrated time of year, it can be noticed that 1 in 5 Brits began their Christmas shopping as early as July 2020. Here at Emotional Logic, we carried out some research to find out how much Brits are spending over the holiday period.

Food and drink are on the agenda

Christmas last year was a bit of an odd one in terms of spending. However, this year our spending habits are a little more traditional. According to our research the majority of UK consumers are planning on spending the same as they did in 2020 across most categories.

Brits will be spending more than they did in 2020 on food for consumption at home as well as going out for meals and celebrations – which is positive for the fashion and hospitality sector. Naturally consumers are planning on spending more money on going out for meals and celebrations as well as food consumption at home because last year consumers were less allowed out or to mix with others because of the pandemic.

Millennials will be spending more

The younger generation are planning on spending more than / significantly more than they did in comparison to Christmas 2020 – this links in with the question ‘Do you have a sense of ‘I want Christmas to be more special’ this year?’ to which 81% of 18-24-year-olds said yes to in comparison to 49% of those aged between 55-64.

The top 5 reasons UK consumers will be spending more are:

  1. More people to buy for
  2. More money to spend
  3. Inflation
  4. Make Christmas more special
  5. Money saved during lockdown

Overall, Brits aren’t planning to buy home items (cushions, curtains), tableware (glasses, plates), decorations, children’s toys and electronics – all of which have previously seen plenty of success throughout lockdowns.

Consumers will be spending half online and half in-store

46% of Brits will be buying Christmas presents for family online, followed by 37% who will buy partly instore and partly online and only 17% are planning to buy in store alone. But according to ONS data, online sales have fallen to lows which haven’t been seen since the start of the pandemic, which will give some hope to physical stores.

57% of Brits are looking forward to visiting shops in the run up to Christmas. The main themes for people to visit the shops in-store are the Christmas atmosphere (decorations, Christmas windows), to get into the festive spirit as well as the in-store shopping experience such as, excellent customer service and the ability to see the product in real life.

When asked ‘Are you looking forward to visiting shops in the run up to Christmas? (Shopping malls/centres, the high-street, outlets etc)’, millennials are the most interested in visiting stores in-store – this gradually decreases with age. This is understandable with consumers shopping online throughout the pandemic and high-street brands embracing digital presence more than ever before.

The high-street will be popular

The rise of early shopping continues: 17% of UK consumers have already finished their Christmas shopping, and 63% expect to be finished by mid-December. According to the Office for National Statistics, the total volume of retail sales had risen by 0.8% in October, compared with flat sales in September. There have been many triggers for consumers to start shopping earlier such as Black Friday/Cyber Monday, retailers prioritising Christmas essentials and stores offering discounts earlier to make sure everyone has enough time to purchase without missing out.

It is great consumers are purchasing however, challenges still remain, especially with the rise of British household bills in the coming months.

Brits want Christmas ‘to be more special’ this year

Overall, 62% of Brits have a sense of ‘I want Christmas to be more special’ this year’. The main reason for this is no other than because of COVID-19 and the Government restrictions – Brits are looking forward to having a ‘proper’ family Christmas and are wanting to making up for missed traditions last year.

According to PwC’s Christmas Survey in October 2021, two-thirds of the public plan on getting together at home with extended family over the Christmas period to celebrate. Although it is less than a normal year, it is more than last year where majority were at home with only immediate family. This means more opportunity to give gifts, increase in spend on food and drink, and more going out – hooray!

Whether you need insight to adjust your strategies for existing brands to the new normal or are thinking about launching new products we can help you get it right. Emotional Logic is a specialist behavioural insight agency and we offer a range of award-winning research solutions to ensure your strategy connects with the constantly shifting needs of the consumer. Please get in touch for a free consultation.