Release: Third of people did online Christmas shopping
17 million Brits finished Christmas shopping while high street was closed
A third of people (33%) in the UK, around 17 million1, completed all of their Christmas shopping during November’s lockdown, according to new polling from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). This figure is 75% higher than the proportion of people who had completed their shopping at the same time last year (19% or around 10 million).
The survey of 2,000 adults suggests that people appear to have felt pressure to get their shopping done earlier than usual, worried that the lockdown would cause problems with the availability of the most sought-after gifts. Almost half of people (47%) admitted that the lockdown has led them to doing more of their shopping online.
The figures will be a major cause for concern among those retailers who are reliant on sales from their bricks and mortar shops, rather than online. It is also likely to have a negative impact on smaller or specialist retailers who lack the marketing spend to compete with bigger brands online.
These businesses will have known that they were likely to miss out on shopping as a result of the lockdown, but the higher numbers doing their shopping early will compound the damage.
There is some hope for high street retailers in the age profile of people who have done their shopping early, as younger shoppers in their 20s and 30s were more likely to have completed their shopping than people in their 40s and 50s who typically have more disposable income. However, there has still been a big increase among people in these older age groups; only 16% of 45-54 year olds had completed their Christmas shopping during November 2019, this has jumped to 28% in 2020.
Mark Dodds, chair of CIM’s food, drink and agriculture group said:
“This is serious news for many retailers. The high street was struggling before the pandemic, with many retailers reliant on the critical Christmas period for their sales. If seven million fewer people are going to be hitting the shops this December, then it could be devastating for shops that depend on Christmas footfall.
“It’s a particular concern for smaller and specialist retailers, who even with a good online offering, will have been drowned out during the lockdown by the marketing spend of the bigger brands.”
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Notes to editors
Notes to editors
1. Source: ONS 2019 mid-year population estimates 51.9m people over 18 in the UK
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