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Oct 2, 2020
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Most Britons will avoid festive shopping in stores - report

Published
Oct 2, 2020

Most Britons will avoid the high street this festive season, putting more strain on both bricks-and-mortar and online retailers, new research has revealed.



Consumers’ plans to swap their traditional Christmas shopping trips for online shopping will drastically accelerate the growth of e-commerce.

According to a survey of over 2,000 UK consumers, 37% of shoppers will avoid physical stores “as much as possible” over the festive period due to Covid-19 restrictions. Some 56% plan to shop online more than last year and 48% have used e-commerce to shop for products they previously only ever bought in-store.

Additionally, the data from Klarna and Retail Economics found a shift in spending patterns, with Britons planning to spread their Christmas shopping throughout the final months of the year. Indeed, nearly a quarter (25%) of consumers are planning to shop earlier this year and almost a third are hoping to bag a Christmas bargain during Black Friday. 

Klarna UK country lead, Alex March, said in a statement: “Christmas 2020 will be like no other, with uncertainty at the forefront of people’s minds. With such a large percentage of people opting out of their traditional Christmas shopping trips to the high street, it is essential that retailers are ready and optimise their online experience to meet this shift in consumer expectations. 

“A smooth website experience and flexibility when it comes to payment are key to ensuring that brands are able to compete.”

Meanwhile, the survey squashed retailers’ hope for a Christmas spending miracle. After months of restricted spending, it seems that Britons have no plans to splash the cash this festive season amid economic uncertainty and the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. 

According to the report, more than a third (36%) expect to cut back on their festive spending and 76% will favour using their own cash to fund their Christmas shopping rather than taking on debt. Further, more than 50% of Britons would prefer to make use of deferred payments than enter into personal loans. 

Retail Economics chief executive, Richard Lim, commented: “A successful Christmas trading period will be a make or break moment for many retailers who remain in survival mode following the impact of the pandemic. The major shifts in spending this Christmas will be towards those retailers who offer the best online proposition and who have the capacity to cope with the levels of demand. 

He added: “The unfortunate reality is that many consumers will shun the high street in favour of online to avoid crowded shopping destinations and the frustrations that will come about from restrictive measures such as limiting shopper numbers in stores and shopping centres. Christmas is likely to be much more planned this year as shoppers bring forward their festive spending to avoid these challenges."

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