Deloitte: average pre-Christmas discounting reaches 43.8% record, but last minute shoppers to find best deals

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Average pre-Christmas discounting has reached a record 43.8% this December, –0.2% deeper than the same time last year, according to analysis of more than 800,000 online and in-store products by Deloitte.

A combination of earlier sales, and a continuation of mid- and end-of-season autumn promotions into December, has created a long run up for pre-Christmas discounting, with prices having steadily fallen over this period.

Successful Black Friday promotions, which this year saw some of the highest ever sales volumes, have helped shift stock from shop floors. However, a pre-existing oversupply could see a tipping point reached imminently, as retailers discount further to shift goods.

Driving sales for Christmas

Current discounts on the high street range from 8% to 78%, with the greatest savings to be found in the mid-market clothing category, according to Deloitte’s MarkdownEdge analysis. Discounting is expected to increase in the final run up to Christmas day, with some retailers anticipated to offer up to 54% off goods from Boxing Day onwards.

Jason Gordon, lead consumer analytics partner at Deloitte, said: “Retailers have faced a challenging year, as consumer confidence has continued to fall amidst macroeconomic uncertainties. In addition, the introduction of Black Friday in recent years means consumers have also come to expect an increasing amount of pre-Christmas discounting. The result is a blending of promotions, one seeping into the next, and a steady price decline rather than a steep Boxing Day drop, reminiscent of Christmases past.

“With one shopping weekend left before Christmas, this week could see a tipping point in promotions.”

Christmas time, shopping online

Whilst Boxing Day itself, falling on a Thursday, is likely to draw footfall on the high street, those shoppers who find themselves in-store on Christmas Eve may pick up the same discounts early.

Gordon continues, “We anticipate many Boxing Day discounts to go live online on Christmas Day itself, those browsing perhaps buying the one present they didn’t receive. On the physical high street, though, Boxing Day promotions could arrive even earlier. The operational challenges that sales present in-store mean some retailers could be offering Boxing Day sale prices on Christmas Eve, for those willing to hit the shops early.”

UK consumers are expected to spend an average of £567 each over the festive period, according to Deloitte’s 2019 European Christmas Survey.