Accenture: UK Christmas sentiment up on last year

22 December 2015 3 min. read
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Christmas shopping sentiment rides high this year; 20% of consumers say they will spend more than last year and 36% say they will spend more than £250. Accenture’s research further highlights that shoppers are on the lookout for discounts, with more than 20% enough to incentives purchases. Digital channels have become considerable more desirable for sales, as more and more consumers become familiar with online engagement.

The holiday period is a busy time for retailers, as consumers spend serious money on Christmas. To find out how the Christmas sentiment is this year, Accenture studied 1,513 UK consumers between September and October 2015.

Shopping strength

The Christmas markets are expected to see an increase in spending this season. 20% of those surveyed plan to spend more on holiday shopping this year, while 68% say that their spend will remain stable to that of last year. Of those surveyed, the average Christmas spend will be £493.

Shoppers are generally more confident about their ability to spend this year, with 43% more optimistic about their financial situation. The number of shoppers spending upwards of £250 has increased from 27% last year to 36% this year.

Discounts and preferences

Shopping for discounts
The responding shoppers also highlight the effect discounts have on their behaviour. Discounts between 20-29% are sufficient to convince shoppers to purchase a product and 48% say that in-store promotions enhance their shopping experience.

Timing makes a considerable difference to the shopper’s behaviour. 40% of shoppers report that they will buy gifts in December, 35% say they spend in autumn, while 20% do so throughout the year. The reasons behind the timing of shopping trips are that shoppers tend to be too busy to shop earlier (33%), want to experience the ‘Christmas spirit’ (21%), or want to take advantage of better discounts. 46% say that they expect the three weeks before Christmas to provide the best deals, while 35% think the best deals will be available after Christmas.

Shopping timing

“The intention of consumers to spend more this Christmas points to what should be a strong trading period for retailers,” comments Matt Prebble, Managing Director of Retail at Accenture UK & Ireland. “We found that 35% of consumers have already started purchasing their Christmas gifts, giving retailers an extended period to drive revenue. To ensure they capitalise on this opportunity, retailers should make sure they are offering a seamless experience with targeted offers and promotions extending across all of the digital and physical channels.”

Online shopping

Online experience
The availability of different shopping channels to purchase Christmas gifts from is expanding and more companies are seeking to leverage online options. According to the survey, consumers are making use of these available options. Just over half (53%) of shoppers anticipate that they will do the majority of their Christmas shopping online and 42% say that they will use smartphone or tablets to make purchases. Although online shopping is gaining territory, as many as 44% says they will stick to traditional in-store purchases.

“Consumers want to shop via any channel, at any time,” says Prebble. “So it is critical that retailers begin to think with a mobile first approach to ensure they provide services in a way that the customer wants, or they could risk losing trade to their competition.”