Shoppers predicted to spend £22.2bn over the festive period, reports IGD


he UK grocery market is set to experience 2.6% growth this Christmas, with shoppers predicted to spend £22.2bn over the festive period, according to the latest forecast from training and research charity IGD.

IGD’s data suggests that while the cost of Christmas is a growing concern for some shoppers, many still see the holiday season as a time to treat themselves with exciting food and grocery purchases. To avoid sacrificing on quality, many shoppers are expected to go the extra mile this year to find the best deals.

  • Two-thirds of shoppers (66%) agree that Christmas is a time to splash out on food and groceries, up from 54% in 2016, despite 32% saying the cost of Christmas is a growing concern this year compared to last
  • 82% of shoppers say they are willing to spend more on particular products at Christmas for better quality
  • More shoppers are claiming to start Christmas shopping early to spread the cost – 45% in 2017 vs. 35% in 2016
  • Shoppers see Christmas as a time to try something different, with over half of shoppers (55%) saying that they always look out for new and exciting products at Christmas

Vanessa Henry, shopper insight manager at IGD, says: “Despite some concerns about costs, shoppers still see this time of year as the main chance to treat themselves and their families. But this doesn’t necessarily mean spending more. Our research shows us that shoppers are being savvier with their spending to ensure they don’t have to sacrifice on quality, with more shopping around at several stores to seek out the best deal as opposed to buying cheaper products. We’re also seeing shoppers trying to get ahead of the season’s spending by starting their purchases earlier in the year to spread the cost.”

Shoppers are more likely to shop around for the best prices than trade down, with just under half of shoppers (48%) planning to shop in a number of stores this Christmas and 43% saying they will spread the bulk of their food and grocery shopping across several different trips to a range of stores in the lead-up to the big day. This compares with a fifth (21%) who say they do a big Christmas shop, visiting one store to get the majority of their shopping in one trip.

Only a third (32%) of shoppers have a set budget to spend on food and groceries this year, suggesting opportunities to drive impulse purchases. Notably, 60% of shoppers say they try to plan their food and grocery shopping at Christmas but always end up buying a number of unplanned products (up from 53% in 2016).

“Retailers will need to work harder to strengthen their in-store offer to stand out,” continues Henry. “Our data shows lots of opportunities for this kind of engagement, particularly with shoppers being more likely to impulse purchase and try new products at this time of year.”