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UK consumers love to hate Christmas shopping –– but a quarter are already stocking up

Christmas Shopping begins as early as August for many. Photo: Freestocks.org/Unsplash

Despite half of Britons saying that they don’t want to see Christmas products on the shelves before December, one in four start Christmas shopping as early as August.

A survey of over 2,000 British consumers by job board RetailChoice shows 26% of shoppers have already bought Christmas presents before 1 September.

The rumbles over the appearance of Christmas stock on shelves has been flamed in recent years, with more and more publicising their efforts. In one high-profile instance, London department store Selfridges opened its Christmas concession at its Oxford Street store in July this year, a 149 days before the festive event itself.

READ MORE: Argos reveals 12 must-have toys for Christmas 2019

In the survey, shoppers said 21 October was their ideal day for Christmas gift products to arrive in stores – nearly three months later.

Just under half (47%) of Britons intend to get shopping completed early in order to get prepared, and 43% opt to do so to avoid the Christmas rush.

This means that retailers must navigate a precise timeline of festive planning before they even reach their December peak season.

READ MORE: Xmas countdown: How to budget for a Merry Christmas

Added to this momentum is also the discount season that kicks off from November’s Black Friday sales onward, with retailers responding to demand from consumers for bargains.

Festive buying habits

One in 20 (5%) Brits complete all their Christmas shopping by mid-November, with 42% saying they enjoy Christmas shopping early to enjoy a stress-free December and the build-up to Christmas.

However, half (50%) complete their Christmas gift shopping between 21 December and Christmas Day, with 23% admitting to leaving it until Christmas Eve to buy a last-minute gift.

More than half (55%) will buy the majority of their Christmas gifts online this year, with this rate significantly higher among younger age groups, peaking at 71% of those aged 25 to 34.

READ MORE: John Lewis reveals the 10 top toys for Christmas

These respondents cited factors such as convenience (58%), the option to have shopping delivered straight to your door (46%), and better online deals (44%) as the main reasons for doing so.

Two-fifths (40%), however, will still be hitting the high street for the large majority of their festive gifts. This rises to 57% of those aged over 65.