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New survey predicts that retailers are set for a cracker of a Christmas

A new study is predicting that UK consumers will spend freely this Christmas although practical presents are expected to top festive shopping lists.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

New survey predicts that retailers are set for a cracker of a Christmas

A new study is predicting that UK consumers will spend freely this Christmas although practical presents are expected to top festive shopping lists.

In a survey of high street retailers by Barclays, 52% of retailers said they felt more confident about Christmas trading this year with 55% expecting spending to increase compared to Christmas 2012. While two thirds of retailers said they thought that practical presents would be the order of the day, only a third predicted that shoppers would spend on more frivolous and novelty gifts.

In addition, the survey found that 55% of retailers are expecting sales made via mobile devices and tablets to rise rapidly this year as shoppers continue to migrate towards digital devices. As a result, the study predicts that click and collect sales will be up by over a third compared with last year as consumers look to overcome the tricky last mile of delivery.

Looking ahead to Christmas Day, nearly 65% of retailers said they believed that online traffic would rise by at least 11% on the big day compared with last year. The first surge of online activity is expected to be shortly after Christmas lunch between 3pm and 4pm, before it peaks between 8pm and 10pm on Christmas night.

Richard Lowe, head of retail & wholesale at Barclays said: “Christmas Day may be one of only two days a year when retailers are not physically able to throw open their doors but, that won’t stop consumers bagging sales bargains online. This means more festive cheer for retailers looking to maximise sales during the all-important Christmas period.”

Getting Christmas shopping to consumers’ doors, particularly presents bought online, was shown to be one of the biggest headaches for retailers with almost half of those surveyed saying they were worried about delivery. This was closely followed by concerns over whether websites would cope with the anticipated increase in festive traffic and the weather, which caused considerable disruption to Christmas trade two years ago.

Nearly two thirds of high street retailers surveyed said they expected website traffic to increase by 11% on Mega Monday on 2 December. The retailers also predicted that mobile devices, gadgets and beauty products were likely to be the most popular Christmas presents this year.

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