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Coronavirus: Brits inclined to cut Christmas spending and shun high street

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2-min read
Consumer trend indicates strong push for online Christmas shopping, according to a survey. Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images
Consumer trend indicates strong push for online Christmas shopping, according to a survey. Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Amid tightening budgets and a fraught economic environment, UK shoppers will only be buying necessities rather than novelty items and stocking fillers this Christmas, according to a study by Blackhawk Network. It also found that Brits are also anxious about the disruption brought by COVID-19 and plan to cut their spend.

The study showed that more than four in 10 (44%) Brits will shun the high street, looking online to fill their festive quota, shopping more online in 2020 than they did last year.

Feeling safe while Christmas shopping is likely to be a huge driver behind the expected increase in online shopping, with over three-quarters (76%) of consumers claiming that they feel safe receiving online shopping deliveries, compared with just half (52%) who said they feel safe at shops.

About 41% of those planning to start shopping earlier this year cite the pandemic as a key influence on their decision. And 20% of consumers started Christmas shopping before September to save money.

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Spending on gifts is also likely to fall by nearly £200 ($260), compared with last year, according to the report.

It also found 21% of respondents planning on purchasing a digital gift card this Christmas, and 30% opting for a physical one.

Chris Ronald, VP EMEA of incentives & operations: “This year will be a Christmas like no other and gifting habits will no doubt change considerably. Festive shopping, be that in store or online, is going to be less about the glitter and the magic of previous years and more about giving gifts that offer real value.

“Whether that is a fluffy pair of socks to put a much needed smile on someone’s face or a gift card for something that is essential in the home, consumers are not just tightening the belt this Christmas, but also making sure that their gifts count.”

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