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Brits to avoid in-store shopping this Christmas

By Andrea Byrne

1 Oct 2020


It has recently been reported that three quarters of shoppers will be put off by physical shopping due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

Klarna and Retail Economics surveyed 2,000 consumers to discover how they are planning to spend this Christmas.

More than a third of respondents said they will avoid Christmas shopping “as much as possible” in-store this year due to the Covid-19 restrictions as it reportedly causes a frustrating experience for shoppers.

Chief executive of Retail Economics, Richard Lim, said in a statement: “A successful Christmas trading period will be a make or break moment for many retailers who remain in survival mode following the impact of the pandemic.”

Online Christmas

Usual festive shopping is expected to be disrupted as 56 percent of respondents plan to shop online more this year. As well, 48 percent of consumers have used online shopping for products they would have previously bought in-store, due to lockdown.

“The major shifts in spending this Christmas will be towards those retailers who offer the best online proposition and who have the capacity to cope with the levels of demand.

“The unfortunate reality is that many consumers will shun the high street in favour of online to avoid crowded shopping destinations and the frustrations that will come about from restrictive measures such as limiting shopper numbers in stores and shopping centres,” Lim commented.

Online sales accounted for a third of overall retail sales in mid-June 2020, while it did lower as Covid-19 restrictions eased, the proportion is set to rise as retail becomes more crowded with sales and Christmas shopping in full swing.

Disruption in trading patterns

Christmas spending is expected to be more spread out this year, 24 percent are planning to shop earlier than last year, and 13 percent plan to shop later. Additionally, nearly a third of shoppers are hoping to find Black Friday deals in the sales.

Lim added: “Christmas is likely to be much more planned this year as shoppers bring forward their festive spending to avoid these challenges. Black Friday will be more disruptive than ever as retailers extend the sales period to cope with demand.”

Cuts in festive spend for consumers

Retailers hoped the restrictions over lockdown would cause shoppers to spend lavishly at Christmas. However, more than a third of consumers expect to cut back, with just 12 percent expecting to spend more than last year.

76 percent of shoppers will rely on either earnings or savings to fund their winter spend, and more than twice as many Christmas shoppers would prefer to make use of deferred payments than enter personal loans.

Alex March, country lead of Klarna UK, concluded: “Christmas 2020 will be like no other, with uncertainty at the forefront of people’s minds. With such a large percentage of people opting out of their traditional Christmas shopping trips to the high street.

“It is essential that retailers are ready and optimise their online experience to meet this shift in consumer expectations. A smooth website experience and flexibility when it comes to payment are key to ensuring that brands are able to compete.”

Photo credit: Pexels

Retail Economics