Consumers to benefit from fifth year of record pre-Christmas discounts, Deloitte reports

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For the fifth year in a row, consumers are enjoying bigger pre-Christmas discounts than they did in the previous year, according to analysis from Deloitte, the business advisory firm. The research includes analysis of almost two million products for sale in the UK.

Following a particularly mild autumn, many retailers, particularly those in fashion, will be trying to clear unsold winter stock during what is the most important trading period of the year. This seasonal volatility, combined with unexpectedly low Black Friday sales volumes, have contributed to record pre-Christmas discounts, both in store and online.

Jason Gordon, consumer business partner at Deloitte, said: “Compared to 2014, there is already a noticeable increase in both the volume and value of discounts in the run up to Christmas this year. Whilst this is good news for consumers looking to grab a bargain, it is a clear sign that retailers are being faced with what is now an annual uphill battle.

“Consumer buying habits and seasonal weather patterns are no longer sureties in the market. Retailers will have to consider implementing more flexible sourcing and trading strategies to cope with the volatility in demand.”

Deloitte’s analysis has found that there is already a very wide spread of discounts across the market, ranging between 5.6% and 90.9% and currently averaging at 41.8%. These discounts will continue to grow in number and size, with average discounts of more than 53% anticipated after Christmas.

Weekends remain key for retailers when it comes to the timing of promotions, with the last weekend before Christmas set to be pivotal both in-store and online.

Gordon said: “Christmas falls on a Friday this year, and, given the disappointing sales so far, we would expect the majority of retailers to launch their final big pre-Christmas discounts on the Saturday before Christmas. Limited Sundaytrading hours on the Boxing Day weekend may also lead to slightly deeper-than-usual discounts in the post-Christmas sales window.”