Deloitte Christmas Survey 2018

A competitive Christmas on the cards?

Retailers have started to unveil their Christmas window displays and the Christmas adverts are already hitting the screens as retailers hope for a lucrative golden quarter. With good economic fundamentals including sustained rises in real pay and strong retail sales this year so far, we expect a relatively positive fourth quarter for the retail sector overall. However, as revealed in the latest Deloitte Consumer Tracker, consumers are in a relatively cautious mood and this year’s Christmas survey on the UK consumers’ spending intentions shows that consumers expect to spend the same total amount as they did in 2017 indicating that it will be a very competitive Christmas for retailers. So how much, on what, when and where will consumers spend their money this Christmas?

UK consumers intend to spend an average of £567 this Christmas

The survey of 9,169 consumers across 10 European countries found that the UK’s consumers expect to spend 42 per cent more than the European average (£400). The UK is the highest spending market in Europe ahead of Spain (£526) and Austria (£475).

UK consumers intend to spend an average £567 each this Christmas, one per cent more than 2017. The majority of spending will be dedicated to gifts (£299), followed by food and drink (£151), socialising (£66) and travel (£51).

The majority of our spending will be on gifts

The UK spends more than any other European nation surveyed on gifts both in value and in share of total spending. More than half of the UK consumer Christmas budget (53 per cent) will be spend on gifts compared to 43 per cent on average in Europe.

Chocolates, books, cosmetics and perfume will be the most popular gifts for adults this Christmas. Video games have replaced money as the number one expected gift for UK teenagers. For children, the most popular presents will be books, arts and crafts, and clothes or shoes. More traditional toys such as model construction toys and dolls have fallen down the pecking order compared to last year, with action toys and video games more in favour.

Nearly half of all Christmas shopping will take place in November or earlier

November is fast becoming the key month for Christmas purchases for UK shoppers. More than half of UK consumers (53 per cent) plan to do the majority of their Christmas shopping in November or before, including 37 per cent in November alone. Only 12 per cent of shoppers expect to do the majority of their Christmas shopping in the week before Christmas.

UK consumers are the most active online

The online channel will take 42 per cent of UK consumers total Christmas spending (compared to 31 per on average in Europe). UK consumers are by far the most active online spenders in Europe, and are planning to spend 42 per cent more online compared to the European average.

Such contrast is not surprising considering that the UK online retail market is the most mature in Europe, accounting for one third of the total European online sales, and that the UK online sales growth continues to be in double digits and now accounts for nearly 18 per cent of total UK retail sales. Since the early days of internet shopping there has been a host of innovations, from digital wallets, next day delivery or even same day delivery, to click and collect, which brought enhanced security, choice and convenience for customers and which will lead to continued growth in the sector.

The physical store still has a role to play

The research also shows that the majority of consumers’ Christmas spending (58 per cent) will be in-store. The main reason why consumers prefer to shop in stores is because it offers immediate gratification. Consumers also see stores as being a better destination to get good customer service, better personal data protection and an enjoyable experience.

UK and European average Christmas spending by category

View the SlideShare report

A note on the methodology

The UK section of the Deloitte European Christmas survey was conducted online with a nationally representative sample nearly 1,000 UK adults aged 18 to 65 between 8th-15th October.

Further reading

Deloitte Consumer Tracker
Quarterly review of consumer confidence and spending behaviour.

Retail Trends
A review of how retail held up in the key Christmas trading period and the key trends that we expect will shape retail in 2019.

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