New Savvy Marketing research unveils key final spending trends for Christmas 2015

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New research from leading retail and shopper marketing agency, Savvy, has revealed Christmas spending plans for UK shoppers. The survey (of 1,000 household shopping decision makers) indicates that nearly 20% of shoppers have yet to think about or start their Christmas shopping. Despite that, 36% of shoppers do plan to spend more this year (than 2014).

“We may have seen some steady improvements in consumer confidence this past year, however we continue to see shoppers exhibit savvy shopping behaviours. During November we read reports of a dip in retail spending in the run up to Black Friday – and now our research suggests many shoppers plan a last minute rush for presents, holding off for anticipated pre-Christmas discounting,” said Alastair Lockhart, insight director at Savvy.

Spending plans

  • Still thinking about it:

o   19% of UK shoppers won’t start to think about what gifts to buy until two to three weeks before Christmas

  • 2015 Vs 2014 budgets:

o   36% of UK shoppers expect to spend more this Christmas than they did last year

  • Making purchases:

o   Nearly half (48%) of shoppers buy Christmas gifts throughout the year when they see something suitable

o   27% buy gifts on Black Friday, 18% in the spring sales and 25% in the summer sales

o   20% start to stock up on Boxing day sales for the year ahead

o   Mad Friday (last Friday before Christmas) sees 17% of shoppers making purchases

o   Interestingly 11% of shoppers wait until after Christmas for the Boxing day sales to buy discounted gifts

o   Ten per cent also leave it until Christmas Eve to make purchases

Spending more or less?

  • Food – 76% of shoppers said they would be spending the same as last year on food for Christmas day. 10 % said they would spend more and 14% said less. Similar figures were seen for treats and snacks to eat during the festive period (76%, 9% and 15% respectively).
  • Drinks – 72% of shoppers will be buying the same amount as in 2014 but nine percent will buy more and 19% will buy less.
  • Presents – 71% agreed they would be spending the same as last year, but 15% said they would be spending more and 14% said less.
  • Going out to pubs, bars and restaurants – Interestingly 31% of shoppers said they would go out less than last year. Sixty two per cent said it would be the same amount as last year and six percent said they’d be going out more than in 2014

Attitudes towards Christmas:

  • Being thrifty – a huge 80% of shoppers said they are looking for ways to make Christmas special without breaking the bank this year
  • Savvy shopping – 71% of shoppers said they plan to shop around for their main Christmas food shopping to help save money
  • Going online – 52% said they would be shopping more online this year

Expectations of retailers:

  • Top of the shopper’s wish list is a loyalty scheme which gives them money off their big Christmas food shop (51%)
  • Fifty per cent would like to see great deals on meat products, 40% want premium products at great prices and 39% will be after great deals on alcohol
  • To help with time pressures, 42% want everything they need for Christmas under one roof
  • Competitions to get the chance to win a prize such as their Christmas food shopping were attractive to 34% of shoppers
  • Shoppers were also keen for retailers to give them ideas and inspiration to try new things (29%). A Christmas shop within a supermarket for example was attractive to 25% of shoppers
  • A specific day when shoppers can get great Christmas present, food and drink bargains was of interest to 22%

Lockhart concluded: “Based on our observations instore during the past week, this year retailers seem to be keeping a keen eye on margin as well as driving sales, with the levels of pre-Christmas discounting, so far at least, appearing to be lower than in recent years.

With less than two weeks to go to Christmas, retailers still have a lot to play for. They will be gearing up for a massive online surge as delivery deadlines loom. On the high street, convenience, customer experience, and of course great product, will determine the winners and losers.”