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Christmas spending to shoot up £1.3bn, despite COVID-19

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Spending on Christmas gifts is predicted to go down, while spending on decorations will likely increase, report says. (freestocks/Unsplash)
Spending on Christmas gifts is predicted to go down, while spending on decorations will likely increase, according to a report. Photo: Freestocks/Unsplash

Christmas spending is forecast to increase by £1.3bn ($1.7bn) during the six weeks leading up to Christmas this year, despite the impact of COVID-19.

It is currently unclear what restrictions may be in place over the Christmas period, but there is a predicted spend increase of 1.6% from 2019, according to VoucherCodes' Shopping for Christmas 2020 report.

The Centre for Retail Research (CRR), who carried out the study, predicted online spending will make up a third of total retail sales, growing by a staggering £5.6bn – or a quarter – from 2019.

However, offline spending is forecast to drop by 7% on last year, largely due to restricted travel and fewer people feeling comfortable visiting their local high street or shopping centre during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is now in its second wave.

On average, Brits are expected to spend £1,206 each this Christmas, with Londoners forecast to shell out the most, at a massive £1,768 per person.

READ MORE: Coronavirus – One in six nurseries and childcare providers could close by Christmas

This is followed by those in the south-east (£1,465), the east of England (£1,338), and the south-west (£1,259).

However, spending on gifts is expected to come to £23.27 (9%) less than last year, at about £234.23 per adult – down from £257.50 in 2019.

Last year, the most profitable categories for gifts were clothing and footwear. However, due to a shift in needs as a result of the pandemic, electronics is predicted to be the largest category for gifting this year.

Shoppers set to spend £52.15 per head this year – an increase of 10% compared to 2019, the report estimates.

Despite local lockdowns and the rule of six, household spending on food and drink is expected to decrease by only £5.96 (2.3%) over the Christmas weekend.

READ MORE: Christmas money saving tips – seven things you need to know

Meanwhile, estimated spending on travel is down by £20.45 (27.7%) as Brits looks ahead to a quieter Christmas at home.

However, it is anticipated that households will spend 10% more on decorations this year in a bid to make their homes more festive and welcoming.

“The pandemic has without a doubt interrupted ‘normal’ life for everyone this year, so it’s no surprise that it will also impact consumer spending over the Christmas period,” said Anita Naik at VoucherCodes.

“Although there are so many uncertainties around the impact of COVID-19, it’s amazing to see that retailers can still expect to see a boost to sales this year.

She added: “However, you choose to shop, [remember that] retailers will be offering extra special discounts during the Black Friday period and in the run up to Christmas.”

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