About 71% of Brits who celebrate Christmas are willing to give up on long-standing traditions and find different ways to celebrate amid the coronavirus pandemic, research from Google (GOOG) and YouGov revealed.
Two-thirds (66%) of Brits acknowledge that, keeping in mind how 2020 has been so far in light of the pandemic and lockdowns, Christmas is likely to be different this year.
Respondents who usually spend Christmas with family and friends outside of their household were asked how they would spend the holiday if they couldn’t physically be together.
About 53% said they plan to do a virtual family gathering via video call and a quarter of respondents said they will take the chance to forego some traditions which they don’t usually enjoy.
“The research reveals that we’re a resilient nation and could be ready to embrace the change by creating new traditions and reimagining the magic of Christmas,” the study said.
This is also evidenced in the fact that 67% of respondents changed or cancelled holidays this year, 46% postponed birthday parties, 45% didn’t attend some live performances they’d planned to see and 15% missed out on weddings.
Meanwhile, data also reveals there is a major focus on spending locally and supporting small business.
Google Search Trends data shows that the UK has the highest search interest for Christmas worldwide. Searches for “Christmas shopping 2020” are up a whopping 1800% compared to the same period last year, whilst searches for “shop local online" are up 224% year-on-year, and searches for “shop local” are up 99%.
Psychologist, Emma Kenny said: “One huge positive has been people connecting more with our local areas and the people and businesses around us. I’m hopeful we will all remember how much we relied on the people and local businesses around us this year, and keep that care, compassion and kindness for each other throughout 2021 and beyond.”
About 73% said most or all of their Christmas food shopping would be done locally, 38% said most or all of their decorations would be bought from local businesses, and 34% said most or all of their gift purchases would be made locally.
When asked about Christmas dinner plans, 17% said they would enjoy a Christmas dinner made entirely of ingredients bought at local businesses.
Google Search Trends data supports this as searches for “local Christmas” and “near me” have surged with top searches being: “Christmas dinner delivery" (+182%), “local Christmas decorations” (+181%), “local tree delivery” (+54%), “Christmas tree near me” (+34%) and “Christmas turkey near me” (+26%).
Consumers recognise the challenging year many local businesses have faced, with 87% saying small businesses have adapted ‘well’ or ‘very well’ to COVID-19 restrictions.
As 51% of local business owners believe online reviews boost business, Google is encouraging people to post a Google review for their favourite local business and use the hashtag #Dearlocal on social media.
Earlier this year, Google committed to help 1 million small British businesses stay open by helping them be found online by the end of 2021, including providing £25m ($33m) in ad credits and 10,000 hours of mentoring.
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