Confident Brits not waiting for Christmas to kick off the ‘must haves’ on their shopping list, intu finds


Brits are not waiting for Christmas to get spending at the shops. New research by intu, the owner, developer and manager of many of the UK’s prime shopping centres, shows the majority of British adults have a full shopping list to complete before the end of November – and what you are planning to buy often depends on where you live.

Following reports of resurgent consumer confidence in recent months, the new research from intu asked a representative sample of more than 3,000 adults what they planned to buy in the three-month period to the end of November. The figures offer a snapshot on tomorrow’s shopping trends and a measure of underlying consumer confidence.

Trevor Pereira, commercial director at intu, said: “Our latest research gives an in-depth look into how people are planning to spend their money in the next few months. It gives us an early indication of a confident consumer outlook which should translate into active shopping before we get to the usual, busy Christmas period. Planned purchases vary more by region than income and it’s interesting that many people place great importance on treats – those small rewards at the end of the week or month that add real colour to people’s lives and leisure.”

Key highlights:

The big ticket must haves: when it came to major or luxury purchases for the next few months, it was leisure clothes, bags and that special pair of shoes that topped the UK’s shopping list.

The small things that matter: The opportunity to treat yourself with small but exciting purchases were also top of the list. More than three in four of people (78%) planned to buy themselves small treats and a further 75% planned to buy a book – with in-store browsing proving more popular than the convenience of online shopping (as was the case for 11 out of the 17 shopping categories surveyed).

Regions: Regardless of how much you earn, or how old you are, it is where you live that more often than not determines what you will be hunting for in the shops ahead of the Christmas frenzy (see table below for detailed figures):

  • London – making an impression: People here were the most likely to be heading to the shops for shoes, bags, a special outfit, perfume and beauty products
  • North West – making a house a home: In this region people were most likely to be planning a purchase for the home, the kitchen and toys for the children
  • West Midlands – the home of media: People in the West Midlands were those most likely to be planning to buy home tech items, film/ music before Christmas. They were also most likely to have jewellery on their shopping list
  • South West – making the most of the great outdoors. Despite the onset of autumn, DIY and gardening purchases were most prevalent among shoppers in the South West
  • East of England – enjoying leisure: People in the East were those most likely to be planning purchases that related to hobbies and crafts

Age group: For the younger generation (aged 18-24) they were much more likely to go to a shopping centre to treat themselves to a new book (82%) or film and music (78%) – which is surprising for the download generation of Kindles and iPads. This age group of shoppers were also the most likely to go shopping for home tech in the coming months.

Household income: The research also suggests that planned purchases are not simply a case of affordability or disposable wealth. Looking at a range of planned purchases – from small treats, home furnishings and leisure clothes, to more luxury items such as perfume, cosmetics and home tech – the proportion of people planning to make purchases was broadly even across income groups ranging from those earning £10,000 a year to those more than £70,000.

  Nat shopping list (%) Most popular in Second most popular in
Misc. small items 81% East – 86% South West – 86%
Leisure clothes 79% London – 83% South East – 83%
Small treats 78% London – 83% East Midlands – 82%
Books 75% London – 80% South West – 78%
Shoes bags 64% London 73% East – 67%
Film and music 63% West Midlands – 70% South West – 69%
Perfume beauty 63% London – 69% South East – 66%
DIY gardening 61% South West – 69% East Midlands – 68%
Home furnishing &

Kitchen items

60% North West – 66% South East – 66%


Special outfit 59% London – 67% South East – 63%
Travel 59% London – 64% North West – 62%
Home tech 53% West Midlands – 62% South East – 59%
Hobbies crafts 51% East – 61% North East – 54%
White goods 42% East – 48% West Midlands – 47%
Toys 41% North East – 46% East Midlands – 45%
Jewellery 40% West Midlands – 51% North West – 43%
Baby 31% East – 36% London – 35%

This new piece of research precedes the major report from intu which reappraises consumer leisure habits, exploring the types of leisure trips people enjoy, the role of a shopping centre as a leisure destination, how shopping habits are changing – the evolving impact of technology on modern shopping behaviour.