UK Christmas budgets increase to £567, but self-gifting could see record Black Friday sales

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UK consumers intend to spend an average of £567 each over the festive period, according to Deloitte’s 2019 European Christmas Survey. Total anticipated spend over Christmas is up 1.3% (from £560) compared to last year, despite this, UK shoppers remain the highest festive spenders in Europe this year, with the average European budget an anticipated €461 (£395).

The majority of UK shoppers’ budgets are set aside for presents (£299), followed by food and drink (£143), socialising (£63), and travelling (£62) over the party season. 

Ian Geddes, North South Europe head of retail at Deloitte, comments: “UK consumers are entering the festive season in a cautious mood, with the average budget set to rise by a slender £6 compared to Christmas 2018. That said, economic fundamentals remain strong, with real wages high and unemployment low.

“Additionally, many consumers are refusing to have Christmas spirits dampened by Brexit fatigue, in the context of ongoing delays. Our survey reveals 44% will in fact spend more to enjoy the festive period and ‘avoid thinking about the macroeconomic environment’.”

To me, from me

Over a third of consumers intend to buy presents in November, making it a key month for Christmas spending. The most popular presents to gift this year include chocolates (50%), books (42%) and cosmetics and perfumes (38%).

Geddes states: “The retail Golden Quarter will be punctuated by sales in November as we anticipate consumers to seek out the majority of Christmas gifts this month. However, consumers may not necessarily be lured in by early discounting, or special promotional shopping days, alone.”

According to Deloitte’s survey findings, just 2% of consumers intend to buy the majority of gift purchases on Black Friday, or on any other special shopping dates in the run up to Christmas. However, it could prove a key date for self-gifting.

Geddes continues: “For many people this year, Black Friday coincides with payday which could see record sales for retailers as a result. Whilst November as a whole will be a very busy shopping month for purchasing presents, few consumers intend to take advantage of Black Friday discounting for Christmas shopping. Instead, we anticipate consumers will use promotional shopping days to treat themselves.”

Experience is everything

Online sales have continued to grow this year as consumers increasingly prefer the convenience of shopping via mobile and computer devices, and the option of home delivery. Whilst consumers may browse social media channels for gift inspiration or price comparisons, for example, 60% still intend to hit the high street for their Christmas shopping.

Geddes, said: “As we can see from our research, stores will still play an important role and getting the in-store experience right could hold the key for retailers this Golden Quarter. For some, that will be about convenience and value. For others, the focus will be on capturing the magic of Christmas in-store to attract the greatest share of wallet.”