Nov 5, 2019
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Britons seek Xmas gifts from trusted names, global shoppers will buy from UK - survey

Nov 5, 2019

International gift shoppers are set to buy from the UK as they do their Christmas shopping this year while British consumers will be heading to M&S, Boots, Nike and Adidas.

Gifting season could be good for UK stores

Those are some of the conclusions of a new survey of 5,000 people across EMEA and APAC by Rakuten Marketing, which said that UK brands seem to be very popular among shoppers abroad. In fact, as many as 45% of international respondents said they’d make a purchase from the UK this Christmas season. 

Rakuten said that two-thirds of shoppers generally plan to consider buying gifts from overseas this time. And UK brands topped the popularity list for those who plan to shop across borders, especially those from Germany (60%), Singapore (49%) and Australia (44%).

And many consumers are looking at the luxury sector with 64% of European and APAC consumers looking to purchase gifts from luxury brands such as Hugo Boss, Chanel and Gucci. Rakuten didn’t say what type of purchase that would be, although it seems there’s a strong chance it will be fragrance.

The researchers also said that under-pressure UK retailers looking to maximise their opportunities this season need to specifically target foreign foreign shoppers. 

And while many of the pressures on those retailers are due to excessively cautious consumers in the UK, Britons are still likely to buy more gifts than some of their fellow Europeans. Some 15% of UK consumers will make purchases for over 11 people, compared to just 3% of Germans who will buy this many presents. The majority of Britons (72%) are looking to buy gifts for at least three recipients or more this season.

Meanwhile, despite the rise of internet giants/disruptors and other newcomers, UK and global consumers seem to be partly sticking with physical store names they know, as well as internet retailers big and small.

When asked where they plan to buy gifts, nearly two fifths of shoppers internationally are “considering alternatives to Amazon”. It Britain, that means 57%+ will look to health and beauty chain Boots, with others choosing prominent department stores Debenhams (37%), John Lewis (30%), House of Fraser (16%) and Selfridges (12%). It’s interesting that HoF is on the list, despite its problems in the last year.

The fashion brand most Britons will consider buying gifts from this holiday season is UK institution M&S (36%). Nike and Adidas (24% each) are the next most popular fashion-linked brands in Britain. Meanwhile, River Island (22%), Topshop (19%) and Zara (12%) will also attract shoppers for fashion gifts.

And while the rise of Black Friday has shifted much of the spending that used to happen in December forward into November, there are also signs of a shift back. Cyber Week, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, remains a firm holiday shopping period for nearly a fifth of Britons (17%) and 12% of those in France and Germany. But 28% of UK consumers said they prefer to wait until the Christmas period to buy and 14% until the end-of-year sales.

As that last point suggests, discounts are key for a large number of shoppers. But the attitude to money-off deals seems to vary widely around the world. 

For instance, Rakuten said that 41% of Britons say they’re not led by discounts or sales when holiday shopping, while an even bigger 43% of Germans agree and 31% of those in France. But in China, an almost-universal 98% said they’re led by discounts and sales. The numbers in Singapore (92%) are almost as high.

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