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Christmas shoppers to spend 2.75 billion pounds during ‘panic weekend’

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

17 Dec 2021

Retail

Image: Harvey Nichols

The final shopping weekend before Christmas, dubbed ‘panic weekend,’ will see 36 million UK consumers shopping for last-minute presents, with 22 million people expected to visit stores despite Omicron cases rising.

According to VoucherCodes third ‘Shopping for Christmas’ report, carried out by GlobalData, British consumers will splurge 2.75 billion pounds over the two days from December 18 to 19, up 14 percent from the 2.4 billion pounds made in 2020.

‘Super Saturday,’ December 18 is set to be the biggest Christmas shopping day of 2021, with 17.9 million shoppers predicted to spend 1.74 billion pounds in 24 hours, up 34 percent on 2020, when spending hit 1.3 billion pounds.

On Saturday, the majority, 11.6 million consumers, will head out to high streets, shopping centres and other stores, spending 1.05 billion pounds in offline sales. A further 700 million pounds is expected to be spent online on Saturday by 6.3 million internet shoppers.

On Sunday, December 19, VoucherCodes anticipates a further 17.5 million shoppers will spend 1.01 billion pounds in combined online and in-store sales. Similarly to Saturday, the bulk of sales are set to come from in-store purchases, with 620 million pounds forecast to be spent by 9.9 million consumers. Online sales are predicted to account for a further 380 million pounds worth of spending, thanks to purchases made by 7.6 million online shoppers.

Retailers to see final Christmas shopping weekend boost, according to research from VoucherCodes

This is known as the most lucrative Christmas shopping weekend for retailers and VoucherCodes notes that ‘panic weekend’ is expected to display positive signs of recovery for the industry, as the nation prepares for a Christmas without restrictions on socialising.

However, whilst spending is set to climb considerably this year, the report predicts that retailers will struggle to meet their pre-pandemic results. Forecasts predict a marginal 2 percent dip in sales for the full ‘panic weekend’ compared to 2019 when spending hit 2.81 billion pounds.

The majority of this fall in spending will be from Sunday’s sales, which are forecast to miss 2019’s results by 15 percent (1.19 billion pounds). However, Saturday is expected to see an 8 percent boost in sales compared to Super Saturday in 2019 (1.61 billion pounds).

Anita Naik, consumer editor at VoucherCodes, said in a statement: “Almost every year, the last weekend before Christmas, or ‘Panic Weekend’ is an incredibly important and lucrative one for retailers. With consumers looking to finalise their Christmas preparations, and last order dates for online orders drawing nearer, it’s a particularly popular time for shoppers to head to stores to ensure they can get hold of everything they need for the big day.

“Whilst Covid is certainly still present in the UK, this report suggests that consumers are looking forward to a Christmas Day without socialising restrictions, and are set to pull out all of the stops when finalising their Christmas shopping this weekend to make this year’s festivities truly special.”