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UK shoppers set to halve their Christmas spending this year: study

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UK shoppers are planning to halve their Christmas spending this year, and will target Black Friday bargains, one new study suggests. Another finds that more than half will change the way they buy this year festive season, largely a result of economic concerns.

UK Christmas buyers to halve spending: Quantum Metric

Continuous product design specialist Quantum Metric questioned 3,400 adults in the US and the UK about their Christmas spending and found most UK respondents say they will spend less than £500 this year. Almost three in 10 (30%) have already started buying ahead of the festive season and eight in 10 (80%) say they plan to hunt for bargains on Black Friday. Some 75% of those planning to shop on Black Friday said they would do most of their shopping online. 

Two thirds (66%) will have a strategy for their Black Friday shopping in order to make sure they get the most for their money. The study also found UK respondents planning to cut back on social events – with 31% avoiding Christmas parties altogether, and 47% being selective about which they go to.

Quantum Metric suggests that retailers will need to offer personalised promotions and offers in order to encourage long-term loyalty. Its data – taken from anonymous and aggregated browsing information on specific retail sites and apps – suggests that many customer build wishlists, and these can be used to create custom recommendations or promotions that are likely to meet with more success. 

Elissa Quinby, senior director, retail marketing at Quantum Metric, says: “With many consumers feeling the strain of the cost-of-living crisis, we’re seeing people prioritise spending on necessities and cutting back on everything else. As a result, Christmas gifts will likely take a back seat this year. 

“With shoppers being more strategic and cautious with their spending, taking full advantage of events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday to promote goods at discounted prices will be crucial for retailers’ success. Those that also offer an outstanding online customer experience, particularly during these sales, will come out on top.”


Meanwhile Zendesk research suggests that more than half (54%) of UK shoppers feel their holiday shopping behaviour has changed, compared to last year – with 82% saying this is a result of the current economic crisis, as the cost of living rises, with retail price inflation running at 11.8% in July, fuelled by energy costs stemming from war in Ukraine.

“The holiday shopping season is going to be prolonged this year, as many customers try to make their money go further,” says Celine Maher, VP EMEA at Zendesk. “For many people, Christmas shopping has already begun. These early customers can become brand loyal advocates for retailers who recognise the opportunity to go above and beyond in delivering exceptional, empathetic, and value-adding customer experience.”

The Zendesk study finds that 51% of shoppers use reviews when deciding whether to buy a gift online, while 79% expect their online shopping experience to be personalised.

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