Nov 25, 2020
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UK Christmas spending to dip only 0.4% - Mintel report

Nov 25, 2020

There may be a lot of talk about the Christmas shopping season in 2020 being something of a write-off for many retailers, but a new report suggests that overall spending will fall only marginally. 

UK Christmas shopping will be fairly robust this year

Despite the consumer uncertainty at present, Mintel expects November and December spending across both food and non-food to drop just 0.4% to £81.7 billion. 

Of that, non-food sales should be £33.3 billion, boosted by surging online demand. Mintel said 51% of consumers say they plan to buy more Christmas gifts online this year, rising significantly among those aged 16-34 (58%) and falling a little among those over 55 (44%).  

Overall, it estimates that internet pureplay retailers will account for £15.7 billion worth of sales in November and December. This comes as almost three-quarters (72%) of Britons plan to try to limit time spent in crowded areas before seeing their family at Christmas.

It’s also a consequence of store closures in November. Mintel estimates online sales in November will account for 37% of all sales and grow by 58% year-on-year. “Stretching Black Friday away from just the weekend itself has been a trend for a number of years, but it will be crucial this year,” it said.

The study also showed that 19% of consumers plan to buy more Christmas products on credit this year and 55% of the 16-34 age group agree that gifts with an ethical/charitable benefit will be particularly important. That compares to 44% of the population as a whole.

Consumers have been keen to avoid credit this year but a large minority that’s planning to resort to credit could be interpreted in various ways. Perhaps consumers feel more confident now that a vaccine is just around the corner. Or perhaps they’ve exhausted all their ready cash and credit is the only option left to them.

And the ethical focus of young consumers shows that that ethical issues will continue to grow in strength as this generation becomes economically more important.

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