Oct 29, 2020
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Britons 'to increase Christmas spend by £1bn' - report

Oct 29, 2020

Opinion seems to be divided on whether consumers will increase their spend for this Christmas season or will tighten their belts. But a new report from VoucherCodes.co.uk and the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) says that spending will rise by around £1 billion in Britain.

Christmas spending is set to rise but the increase will happen online

Meanwhile Germany and France should see retail growth of around 2% while Italy and Spain will drop 1.6% and 2.2% respectively.

For Britain, the report predicts spending in the six weeks before Christmas to rise 1.6% year-on-year for a total of £84.46 billion, The Telegraph reported.

But within that almost-£85 billion figure, there will be some quite noticeable shifts as around a third of all purchases will happen online and internet spending will increase by as much as £5.6 billion compared to 2019. Online sales should total £27.87 billion.

Meanwhile, spending in physical shops will drop by 7% as a combination of lockdown restrictions and consumer anxiety about venturing out make physical spaces less attractive this year.

The trend has been in the direction of rising online sales for some years, especially over the Christmas period. But the pandemic has accelerated this trend and in September, internet sales accounted for 26.1% of total retail, up 8% year on year.

Despite rising unemployment and workers who were on furlough only receiving 80% of their salaries, the report also said that household incomes have “held up pretty well” this year. This is partly because consumers haven't had to spend so much. Holidays abroad have been cancelled, weddings and other occasionwear events were put on hold, there were fewer trips to the cinema or restaurants and fewer social occasions for which to buy new clothes. Consumers working from home have also saved a certain amount of cash as they haven't had to spend their wages on things like office clothes, lunches, train fares and petrol.

The report said a “significant proportion of households” will have “more money than usual to spend at Christmas” and added that “total retail sales in most countries have been fairly buoyant since the end of lockdown and there is no evidence yet that this is going to change.”

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