With just over seven weeks to go until Christmas, new research by VoucherCodes and the Centre of Retail Research (CRR) reveals British families are set to spend £821.25 on Christmas 2017, up 1.3 per cent on 2016 (£809.97) – and 54 per cent more than their European counterparts, who will spend an average of £532.01 (€612.90) on this year’s festivities.
According to the forecast, once again the key battleground for retailers will be online, as spending continues to grow on PC, tablet and mobile. Data from the CRR reveals that online Christmas spending is set to grow 11.8 per cent on 2016, and is now the main driver of retail growth. However, these gains are set to be increasingly at the expense of the high street, with sales in physical shops expected to drop by 2.5 per cent in the UK. This decrease in bricks and mortar retail is higher than other European countries, who are set to experience an average of 1.1 per cent decrease.
Those who plan to shop online will do so to avoid busy crowds (68 per cent), escape the long queues (62 per cent) and to more easily compare prices and reviews (50 per cent). Meanwhile, nearly one quarter (23 per cent) will plan to exclusively shop online to avoid having to put up with repetitive festive jingles. However, consumers claimed being able to touch and feel the products before making a purchase (59 per cent) was the biggest advantage associated with shopping in-store, in addition to being able to receive the item straight after purchasing (49 per cent).
Overall in Europe, spending on mobile is forecast to rise to 44.3 per cent (£28.57 billion) of online business. UK shoppers are ahead of the trend with their mobiles, with an expected 54 per cent of Christmas online sales to take place on mobile. Only shoppers in Germany are predicted to carry out more of their spending on their mobile – at 50.2 per cent.
A huge £78.69 billion will pass through the tills and online baskets this Christmas in the UK, up 1.4 per cent on 2016, as British families buy must-have presents, festive food and drink, and decorations. The biggest increases in spend year-on-year will be on Christmas travel, which is up 7.2 per cent on 2016 to £89.52. This is followed by festive decorations at £31.20, up 6.9 per cent on last year.
Individuals are set to personally spend £244 on gifts, up 1.3 per cent on last year (£240.41), and 51.5 per cent more than the European average of £160.82 (€185.28). Toy sales are set to increase the most (+8.7 per cent), however, the clothing and footwear category is set to drop by minus 1.7 per cent of Christmas spend per head.