Retailers consider the period leading up to Christmas to be of critical importance to their overall performance as they believe that this is the time when consumers spend the most money. Although this is largely true, each year is influenced by the current economic landscape, consumers’ finances and technology innovations.
As I read in the ‘How Britain Will Shop For Christmas 2012′ study, prepared by retail analysts Verdict and SAS UK, this year will be a multichannel Christmas, with e-commerce, department stores, supermarkets and discount stores being the most preferred outlets, as convenience, low pricing and quality become the major factors influencing consumers’ purchases.
According to the report, UK consumers will spend £86.1 billion around Christmastime, which is just 1% above the 2011 figure. E-commerce is expected to get a 10.6% slice of the total retail sales in the period, with food and grocery, as well as electricals being the top picks in the online space. Retailers should particularly do their best to please tablet lovers, who will most likely go online to buy Christmas gifts, said the report. This could be achieved by optimising websites to work on such devices and equipping in-store staff with tablets to check availability and order items.
Tablets will be also the most common item that people will buy this Christmas, along with e-readers. Tablet-style toys will be amongst the top gifts for kids, in addition to traditional toys, such as interactive talking toys and board games, which are now making a return to store shelves.
One segment that is tipped to see an impressive growth during the festive season is that of craft products – last year, one fifth of the participants in the study said that they purchased such items for their friends and family.