According to recent research, Britons are preparing to tighten their purse strings this Christmas. The study reveals that Christmas shopping budgets will be reduced by 6% compared to last year. A survey conducted by the Fashion Retail Academy found that 34% of consumers prioritize beauty products as their top gift choice. Additionally, 20% of shoppers expect to increase their online shopping this festive season.

While the research did not specify where fashion ranks in terms of gift-buying priorities, it did show that 26.8% of respondents plan to purchase vouchers. However, there is concern surrounding the use of vouchers, as there is a risk that retailers and other businesses may go out of business, rendering the vouchers useless.

On average, Britons plan to spend £341 on presents, which is a decrease of 6% compared to 2019. The younger demographic, particularly those aged 18-24, are expecting to spend £221, also a 6% decrease from last year. In contrast, individuals aged 45-54 are willing to spend £382 on gift-giving, which is 10% less than last year.

Despite the uncertainty caused by the ongoing pandemic, 63.7% of respondents have already started their Christmas shopping. Only 3% of consumers stated that they plan to wait until the week before Christmas to make their purchases, while 20% intend to begin their shopping in early December.

Lee Lucas, the principal of the Fashion Retail Academy, emphasizes the importance of a strong Christmas period for retailers, especially after the decline in sales during the first lockdown in the spring. The fact that two-thirds of shoppers have already started their festive shopping in early November is encouraging for retailers in what is expected to be a challenging Christmas season.

Lucas also highlights that shoppers are not waiting for Black Friday discounts and are instead opting to plan ahead and spread out their spending due to anticipated further disruptions. However, the research also shows that the amount shoppers are willing to spend is lower than last year. Financial constraints and job insecurity are impacting Christmas budgets nationwide, and there is also uncertainty about how much of a traditional family Christmas can be enjoyed if lockdown measures are extended.

In conclusion, Britons are reducing their Christmas shopping budgets this year, but beauty products and vouchers remain popular choices. The ongoing pandemic continues to present challenges for retailers, who are hoping for a strong Christmas season to make up for previous losses. Planning ahead and spreading out spending are strategies being employed by consumers in anticipation of potential disruptions. However, financial strains and uncertainties still cast a shadow over the holiday season.

Useful links:
BBC: “UK Christmas shopping budgets to be cut by 6% – report”
Fashion Retail Academy: “Christmas Shopping Set to Be Cut by 6% Compared to Last Year, New Study Reveals”