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UK economy to receive 'significant boost' from Christmas shoppers

By Huw Hughes

11 Nov 2020

Retail

The UK’s economy could receive a “significant boost” - and a well needed one - this holiday season as consumers are expected to shop just as much if not more as last year despite Covid-19, new data suggests.

According to consumer and location intelligence specialist CACI, 62 percent of consumers plan to spend more or the same as last Christmas. Of those planning to spend more, the average increase is likely to be 390 pounds.

In contrast, of the 38 percent of customers planning to spend less, the average cut in spending will be 183 pounds.

Some 40 percent of respondents plan on waiting until stores reopen next month to do their Christmas shopping, resulting in an expected 3 billion pounds of spending in December. Half of these consumers say they have intentionally delayed their shopping by a month so they can buy in-store, rather than online.

Christmas an ‘even more crucial period’ this year

CACI’s research also suggests there will be a “significant” uplift in the online halo effect, which is the uplift in online sales due to the presence of physical stores. Generally, this figure is around 53 percent but during November CACI highlights it will increase to 62 percent, meaning retailers will still benefit from 1.6 billion pounds of spending, but via their online channels.

Of those making the switch from physical stores to online this year, 46 percent plan to purchase from the websites of specific brands they can no longer visit in person, which CACI said “further highlighting the role of stores in shaping consumer behaviour”.

CACI director Alex McCulloch said in a statement: “Christmas is going to be an even more crucial period this year, as retailers will be looking to make up significant consumer spend they have lost throughout the pandemic. Our latest consumer survey is evidence there is still hope of a solid spending period for Christmas shopping, but it is key bricks and mortar retail can re-open at the beginning of December.

“That said, it also highlights just how quickly consumers are changing their habits. Back in March, CACI found consumer trends moved forward five years in the space of two weeks, and this survey highlights the implications of such huge shifts in behaviour. Those retailers able to be flexible and adapt will benefit, leaving those that cannot, or will not, change behind.”

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