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Consumer confidence buoyant for Christmas 2010

UK consumer spending is forecasted to rise this Christmas with 14% of consumers planning to spend more on gifts

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Consumer confidence buoyant for Christmas 2010

UK consumer spending is forecasted to rise this Christmas with 14% of consumers planning to spend more on gifts

The third annual survey of Christmas shoppers was carried out by Empathica, a customer experience management agency.

The survey of 1,053 Christmas shoppers revealed that the High Street could be seeing some green shoots, as the figure has risen from 11% in 2009 and 6% in 2008, respectively.

These results are supported further by the Office of National Statistics’ recent figures that retail sales rose 3.6% by value and 1.8% by volume in November compared to the same month last year.

Gary Topiol, Managing Director at Empathica, said, “Weather permitting, consumers are beginning to increase their spending, but the economic climate remains challenging and consumers are more demanding than ever. Therefore, retailers must work hard to deliver exceptional service to help build customer advocacy and satisfaction.”

The survey also revealed that 27% of shoppers have begun their shopping earlier than in previous years.

Topiol said, “Christmas shoppers may have taken to the shops earlier this year due to a variety of reasons. Once the poor weather at the start of December subsided, shoppers may have felt the need to get their Christmas organised early, beat the impending VAT increase and save time – those that did will have avoided the worst of the latest bout of bad weather.”

With consumers becoming more confident with spending, the research shows they are increasingly interested in the ease of their shopping experience and less so in the quality of the goods purchased.  The importance of the former has risen from 16% in 2008 and 2009 to 18% this year, while importance of latter has dropped from 25% in 2008, to 21% in 2009 and 20% this year.

The research also shows that 19% of customers believe good customer service is more important than anything else.

Topiol added, “To encourage customers to shop, retailers must give them a pain-free shopping experience and deliver exceptional service. A good customer service experience could turn a one off Christmas shopper into a loyal customer of your store week in / week out.”

The Retail Bulletin is organising their 2nd Multichannel Summit, to be held in London February 2nd 2011. The event is sponsored by k3 retail and will look at how retailers can maximize profits, market share and loyalty through cost effective, seamless, integrated multichannel strategies.
If you would like to attend as either a delegate or Networking Partner, go to www.retailbulletinconferences.com/multichannel2011

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