The Christmas countdown is now down into single digits and we’re a nation determined for the big day to be bigger and better than ever before. It’s been widely speculated that Christmas in 2021 would be a record breaker with millions eager to make up for the disappointment of last year, and now we have the latest data, insights, and all-important consumer opinions which reveal exactly how the festive season is being tackled.
Christmas retail sales in the UK are forecasted to hit a whopping £84.7 billion in the six-week period from the middle of November to the end of December, making it the largest on record. Unsurprisingly, we saw a dip last year with spend during the holiday period totalling £79.7 billion, and 2021 is expected to see spend grow in a typical way with pre-pandemic levels, where we saw a strong £83.1 billion in 2019.
Whilst the overall spend levels between 2019 and 2021 are fairly close in the grand scheme of things (if you can ever call a difference of £1.6 billion ‘close’), the major difference we’ll see is where that money is spent.
As you can see, the difference between online and store-based shopping from 2017-2019 is vast. With the forced change in shopping behaviour which we saw in 2020, the gap became significantly smaller, and the proportion of online sales grew by almost two thirds.
The prediction for 2021 is that revenue from online sales will drop slightly versus last year, with store-based shopping seeing a rebound with the British public choosing to shop local and support their highstreets in a way which they weren’t able to last year – and likely missed.
All of this would suggest that more of us would take to the streets to do our shopping – however this is where it gets interesting…
We’ve seen that most of the revenue in the festive period is store-based, however, 69% of consumers prefer to do their Christmas shopping online. Whether that comes down to convenience, availability, environmental, or some lasting fear around Covid-19 is up for debate – but the willingness and desire to shop online is present in an overwhelming majority of people where we’ve not really seen it before.
When it comes to online shopping, one retail giant superpower springs to mind for everyone, and the data proves it. A staggering 85% of consumers in the UK buy at least one Christmas gift on Amazon.
And with their aims of being a one-stop-shop for everything anyone could possibly need over the Christmas season, the news that 46% of online shoppers prefer to buy all gifts through one platform certainly is welcome to them.
North Pole Number One
With a cemented place in our childhoods, the Argos catalogue is synonymous with Christmas for many – and even now, they’ve still got it.
Topping the charts for the most popular UK-based online store to buy Christmas presents, it goes to show that, whilst frantically flipping through the catalogue pages has been replaced with endless scrolling on phones and tablets, the retailer is still a firm favourite with us all during the festive season.
All Things Sled and Done
The most wonderful time of the year is certainly also one of the most expensive for us with the average Christmas spend per head in the UK ranging from £994 to £1,746.
Although nothing will ever replace the feeling of highlighting and folding down the corners of the thousand-page catalogue, it seems that online shopping has finally won over the great British public and is here to stay. It’s proving to be now or never for retailers to adapt to and adopt ecommerce, and Argos are proof that fundamentally as a nation we’re creatures of habit who love tradition, yet they have been able to keep up with and capitalise on the change in consumer behaviour.
The sales that in-store shopping sees speaks for itself, however with over two thirds of us saying that our preferred way of shopping is online, it’ll be interesting to see where and at what point we see the majority of revenue start of shift that way too, as surely with the way the data is going, it’ll be happening in the not-too-distant future.
All data and information correct at time of publishing, sourced from Statista - https://www.statista.com/topics/3157/uk-christmas-shopping
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