Cautious shopper mindset ahead of Christmas trading

Alastair Lockhart

Mon 16th Oct 2023

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While the headline rate of inflation may have eased from its peak, the cost of living crisis continues to dominate the shopper mindset as the Christmas shopping season gets underway.

Almost two-thirds of UK shoppers plan to cutback their expenditure on Christmas gifts this year and 61% expect to buy less food and drink, according to latest research from Savvy.

It won’t just be difficult trading conditions for retailers. Pubs and restaurants will be concerned to see that 60% of us are planning to eat and drink out less in order to save money.

Navigating the cost of living crisis

As we’ve seen over the past 18 months, shoppers are increasingly savvy in their spending habits and have become adept in looking for ways to stretch their budgets. Amongst those planning to celebrate Christmas, 68% expect they will start buying Christmas presents earlier to help spread the cost, 66% plan to spend retailer loyalty card points to get money off their Christmas shop and 61% say they will spend more at discounters like Aldi and Lidl. 46% will hold off buying presents to do more Christmas shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, while 40% say they tend to delay buying presents until the final weeks as they expect sales to start.

Shifting inspiration

While shoppers are naturally turning more to digital sources of Christmas inspiration, retail stores remain dominant, especially for food and drinks, with 88% of shoppers saying they’ll look for things to buy and do at a supermarket. 69% say they’ll visit a retailer website, 60% will use Google and 39% expect to find ideas on Facebook. Tik Tok is a source of festive inspiration for 30% – significantly below the level we recently saw for Halloween inspiration (50%).

Broader trends

Many of the broader trends Savvy has reported for calendar events throughout this year are reflected on our Christmas research. 61% of shoppers would rather buy gifts from smaller or local retailers, 57% plan to buy sustainable gifts where possible and 43% anticipate they’ll buy a personalised gift.

If you are interested to read more detailed findings and analysis of Savvy’s Christmas insight, please get in touch.

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