John Lewis survey reveals how the UK is planning for Christmas

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Potentially signalling the end of the last minute Christmas shopper, households are being more savvy and more prepared than ever before this year with the UK remaining determined to indulge in the festive spirit early – and that still includes a trip to the high street to do Christmas shopping – according to a new survey.

The survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of John Lewis has revealed how the UK is planning for Christmas this year – and as expected it looks set to be a very different one to previous years as record sales at the shop are also demonstrating.  

Homemade gifts and sending cards are set for a big resurgence, decorations will be up earlier and in more rooms around the home and more people will be putting up outdoor lights to spread a bit of joy or perhaps in friendly competition with the neighbours.  

Early festive fun 

  • Almost a third of those surveyed said they were planning Christmas earlier than usual this year 
  • Of those, 74% said they are shopping for gifts early, 39% are already stocking up on food gifts like chocolates and panettone and third of people plan to put up their decorations earlier than usual  
  • John Lewis Christmas shop sales are up 63% on last year, its virtual Christmas shop is one of the most viewed pages on johnlewis.com, advent calendars are up 48% this year, while Christmas baking kits are up 65% with customers already looking for festive activities to do 

The end of the last minute Christmas shopper 

  • 60% of people said they will have their Christmas shopping done by the end of November
  • Just over 8% said they would wait until the week before Christmas this year
  • Less than 2% said they would wait until Christmas Eve 

A visit to the high street still planned 

  • Nearly a quarter of people (24%) said they have already visited shops to do Christmas shopping and will do so again in the coming weeks – toy sales are already up 43% at John Lewis
  • 54% said they hadn’t visited the shops yet but still planned to

‘Tis the season to be savvy (but thoughtful) 

  • Of those who said they were planning Christmas early this year, 47% said spreading the cost was a big factor behind them shopping earlier this year
  • More than half of those surveyed said they plan to spend less, but will be more thoughtful about what they get someone
  • Almost a third of people said they would make their own presents this year – haberdashery sales are up 30% at John Lewis, craft kits are up 85% and making up Christmas stockings is proving popular again with stocking sales up by 45%
  • Almost a quarter of people plan to give a gift to neighbours or a member of their local community this year, twice as many people as last year  
  • 44% of people though said they were planning to get gifts delivered directly to friends – hamper sales, for example, are already up 265% at John Lewis compared last year
  • 20% said they plan to send vouchers or gift cards this year – sales of gift card sales via johnlewis.com are up 80% 

Still on the cards…

  • More than 70% said they intended to post more or the same amount of Christmas cards this year compared to 51% who said they intended to send more or the same amount of virtual greetings 
  • Card sales at John Lewis have risen 69% compared to last year, with online card sales up over 200%
  • More than 30% of people said they were spending more time this Christmas thinking about how they can make more contact with family and friends now they might not be able to see them
  • More than 20% said they were already thinking about how they can entertain people virtually as well as at home or what will be the backdrop to their video calls
  • Chromebook sales alone are up 235% compared to last year

Deck the halls… and everything else

  • Nearly 40% of people plan to decorate areas around the house they haven’t decorated in previous Christmases as people celebrate in style and get ready for more video calls
  • Of those nearly a fifth (18%) said they would be decorating their hallway and stairs for the first time and more than 19% said they would decorate the outside of the house or their gardens 
  • Sales of Christmas lights are already up 48% at John Lewis, lighted decorations are up 46% and Christmas wreaths are up 40%  
  • 30% of people said decorating the tree would be the big family moment outside Christmas Day this year – sales of Christmas trees and boxed baubles are up 128% and 107% respectively compared to last year

Dan Cooper, Christmas buyer for John Lewis, said: “It will undoubtedly be a Christmas like never before and one we know will be very challenging for many, but there seems to be a determination to end the year on a positive note and indulge in the festive spirit earlier than ever. People are giving more thought to how they stay in touch with friends and family and how they can make someone’s Christmas that bit more special. 

“Shoppers are understandably wanting to capture as much of the traditional experience and celebrations as possible. And for many that includes a trip to the shops so we have put as much effort into ensuring our customers know they can shop easily and safely for everything they need under one roof this Christmas as we have the inspiring gifts they can choose from.”   

John Lewis has unveiled a short film this week to ensure customers are aware of how they can shop safely with them this Christmas.