Will It Be a Happy Christmas for Small Retailers?

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Will It Be a Happy Christmas for Small Retailers?

A recent survey has revealed that over one-third of shoppers are planning to start their shopping earlier this year, but the results also show that consumer attitudes to spending are changing. Therefore, retailers will need to adapt if they are looking for a profitable Christmas period.

A new poll has found that shoppers’ attitudes to Christmas shopping are beginning to change. Hall and Partners completed a survey in collaboration with Dynata which found that one-fifth of consumers say they want to avoid Christmas excess, spend less, and live more sustainably. These shoppers even consider buying expensive gifts as “unnecessary and over-indulgent” and that it goes against their wish to lead a more sustainable life.

However, almost half of those surveyed said they will spend the same as previous years, with one in ten even planning to spend more this year. However, 25 per cent of shoppers are concerned about rising prices, saying they are worried about the increasing cost of Christmas. 

The survey has come as many retailers and brands are starting the festive period earlier than ever before, trying to recoup lost earnings due to the pandemic and generate income, to stay ahead of supply chain issues and any further potential lockdowns.

The supply chain problems and rising prices may also be why one-third of consumers have decided to start their Christmas shopping early. Although there’s some good news for small local retailers, as they may be able to expect an uplift in sales this year, with 23 per cent of shoppers saying they will support local business.

Nonetheless, small retailers need to maximise their e-commerce game, as a new study by Iterable has shown that consumers will be doing their Christmas shopping online more than ever before.

The poll of 1,000 UK shoppers found the following:

  • 86% of UK consumers plan to do at least half their Christmas shopping online this year;
  • Just 14% plan to complete all or most of their Christmas shopping in-store;
  • 45% of UK consumers plan to shop more online this holiday season than in previous years;
  • 51% of UK shoppers plan to spend more on gifts this season than previous years.

The findings have also revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a large effect on shopping habits and attitudes. The survey suggests that 56 per cent of UK consumers believe coronavirus has had a negative impact on their attitudes towards Christmas shopping and 42 per cent state coronavirus as their reason for deciding to shop online.

Elle Nadal, director of marketing, EMEA, at Iterable, said: "The pandemic has created a new status quo in retail, with customers far more willing to browse online than on the high street. Brands need to adjust to this new reality, building memorable, consistent experiences for customers wherever they choose to shop."

However, Nadal added: "Shopping preferences and plans are constantly changing, and consumers confronted with supply chain disturbances will likely plan on making some last-minute purchases in-person. An omni-channel experience that marries the unique appeal of in-person retail with the convenience of online shopping will win over customers not just for the Christmas period but long into 2022 and beyond."

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