New Research Unveils Key Spending Trends for Christmas 2014


…25 percent plan to spend more this year – especially true of younger shoppers…


New research from leading retail and shopper marketing agency, Savvy Marketing has revealed Christmas spending plans for UK shoppers. The survey (of 1,000 household shopping decision makers) indicates that 25 percent of shoppers plan to spend more this year (compared to 2012) with younger shoppers planning to loosen their purse strings most.


“After lacklustre Christmas trading in 2012, retailers and brands will be hoping for a stronger performance this year.  There are some positive signs in place, not least a sharp rise in consumer confidence over recent months and growing column inches reporting improving economic performance,” said Alastair Lockhart, Head of Insight at Savvy Marketing. “Our findings confirm this and suggest that around a quarter of UK shoppers are planning to increase their Christmas spending this year.”


Key research findings:


  • Spending plans:

o   25 percent of shoppers plan to spend more this Christmas compared to 2012.

o   Younger shoppers plan to loosen their purse strings most with 45 percent of 18 to 24 year olds saying they plan to splash out more this year. Next in line are 25-31 year olds of which 31 percent plan to spend more.

o   Just 16 percent of 65 to 74 year olds have increased their spending plans this year.


  • Online Vs Instore shopping:

o   37 percent of shoppers say they expect to shop more online this year than they did in 2012.

o   When it comes to the all-important main Christmas food shop, 71 percent of shoppers say they’ll visit a physical store to carry out the task. Just 14 percent say they plan to do this online and 15 percent don’t yet know their plans.


  • Tablets:

o   Set to play a bigger role in Christmas shopping this year – household tablet ownership has surged from 28 to 46 percent during the past 12 months.

o   However, only 19 percent of shoppers tell us they’ll do some Christmas shopping using their tablet – we anticipate many will use them to research Christmas presents and look for inspiration.


Lockhart commented: “It’s interesting that younger shoppers – the age group most affected by the downturn – seem the most optimistic.  In part this is because many shoppers start working during this stage of their lives, so they have growing disposable incomes to spend.  However, we also find among this group a sense of resignation about the economy, with many seeing Christmas as one time of year they can splash out a little extra.”



He continued: “From the retailer’s perspective, there’s definitely more of an air of optimism this year – as you can see from the bulk of the Christmas TV ads which place an emphasis on the magic and sparkle of the festive season, rather than the more somber and realistic portrayals of family life seen last year.


Whilst we agree that it will be a better Christmas for a number of retailers this year, it would be premature to pop the Champagne corks just yet.  Granted, consumer confidence has increased substantially during the past six months, but we anticipate that for many a reality check will set in once credit card bills start to land on shoppers’ door mats in January. This is especially true for many households outside of the south east for which times remain tough. With inflation continuing to outstrip wage growth, disposable income is not likely to increase significantly for most families any time soon.  Ultimately shoppers do not use headlines or politicians’ statements as their barometer of economic performance, but the contents of their own purses.”


Lockhart concluded: “For retailers and brands it is important to take account of economic improvement and rising confidence, while being careful not to jump too far ahead.  Price, or more particularly value, will remain king in the eyes of consumers.  The savvy shopper is here to stay so, even as we see an increasing propensity for shoppers to trade up, they will continue to look for outstanding value.”


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