Shoppers in the capital have shown the most appetite to head to the high street for their Christmas shopping, with almost half (44%) planning to shop in-store during December. This is followed by shoppers in Northern Ireland (41%) and the South West (36%), new data from LiveArea shows.
These figures compare against the UK average of 32% among respondents who celebrate Christmas, and come after the latest Springboard report revealed a burgeoning sense of lockdown fatigue.
Meanwhile, shoppers in the North East were the least likely to be venturing to the high street this festive season, with over a third (34%) planning to avoid physical stores altogether. This was followed by those living in Yorkshire and Humberside (32%), Scotland (29%), and the East of England (29%).
An online Christmas rush fraught with difficulties
Over a third (38%) of UK shoppers managed to get all or most of their Christmas shopping done online while non-essential stores were shut for the November lockdown.
Among the respondents, three-quarters (73%) bought at least some of their gifts online, but well over half (58%) ran into issues while doing so.
The leading causes of friction while shopping online were delayed deliveries (14%), low stock levels (13%), and difficulties while browsing or thinking of gift ideas (12%).
Lockdown’s retail therapy saw brand loyalty dissipate
A third (31%) of respondents said they spent more during the November lockdown compared to other months of the year. Among these, one in ten said they spent much more during the period.
Londoners led the pack with their online spending over lockdown, with 17% saying they spent much more compared to other months, followed by shoppers in the North East (15%) and the North West (11%).
November’s lockdown also saw a fifth (21%) of shoppers experiment with new brands more than usual. With more time on their hands, 18-34 year-olds (33%) and those based in the capital (36%) had the most appetite to buy from retailers they had not bought from before.
“In the absence of physical stores, eCommerce has remained a key lifeline for British shoppers looking to get their Christmas shopping done on time,” said Elliott Jacobs, EMEA commerce consulting director at LiveArea, the customer experience and commerce expert.
“Despite this, it’s clear there is still work to be done to ensure retailers’ online infrastructure and back-end systems can stand up to surges in online demand. What’s more, while those hit hardest with lockdown restrictions are least likely to be visiting the high street this year, many shoppers across the country are still planning to head in-store to finish their Christmas shopping – here, retailers must join the dots between digital and physical to provide seamless and consistent experiences across the entire omnichannel landscape.”