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Insight: Christmas spending expected to rise with UK shoppers top gift buyers in Europe

New research is predicting that UK consumers will spend an average £544 each this Christmas, 1.8% more than 2016.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Insight: Christmas spending expected to rise with UK shoppers top gift buyers in Europe

According to Deloitte’s 2017 European Christmas Survey, the majority of spending will be dedicated to gifts, followed by food and drink, socialising and travel.

The survey of 8,154 consumers across 10 European countries found that the UK consumers expect to spend 38% more than the European average. In addition, the UK was found to be the second highest spending market in Europe behind Spain.

The study has shown that the UK intends to spend 70% more on gifts than any other European nation surveyed. However, when it comes to food and drink, UK consumers were found to lag some way behind the Spanish, who intend to spend €195 on this category alone.

Some 53% UK consumers said they expect to receive chocolate this Christmas while 44% expect to receive books. In contrast, most teenagers expect to receive gifts of money, followed by computer games, books, chocolates and clothes/shoes. Children under 12 expect to receive gifts of books, followed by arts and crafts, clothes/shoes, educational toys and games. 

Ian Geddes, North West Europe head of retail at Deloitte, said: “Following disappointing October sales figures, rising inflation and the first interest rate rise for more than 10 years, UK retailers will be holding their breath in the run up to Christmas.

“The retail industry should be buoyed by these spending intentions, as they will be hoping that momentum will return to the market at a time when cautious UK consumers continue to feel the squeeze on their spending.”

Deloitte’s research also found that 37% of UK consumers are planning to do the majority of their Christmas shopping in November with just 12% planning to shop in the week leading up to 25 December.

Geddes added: “Interestingly, UK consumers are planning to buy their Christmas shopping earlier, and November is now the key month for purchases. By contrast, shoppers across the rest of Europe tend to focus their spending on the month of December. This partly reflects more relaxed regulations on sales and promotions in the UK.

“In the UK, last-minute shopping is only really done by around one in eight people in the week before Christmas. Retailers in the UK need to ensure that they are maximising sales throughout November in order to tap in to this consumer trait.”

The survey also discovered that UK consumers are by far the most active online spenders in Europe, and are planning to spend 142% more on gifts and 207% more on food and drink online than the European average. In addition, a fifth of consumers are planning to use digital wallets for their online spending.

Geddes said: “Considering that the UK spends around £1 billion a week online, it is not surprising to see such a disparity compared to the rest of the continent. UK consumers are increasingly comfortable with making purchases online using their smartphones, tablets or laptop devices.

“That being said, the physical store still has a role to play in Christmas shopping, with almost two-thirds of shoppers suggesting they will do some or all of their Christmas shopping in-store.”

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