UK lockdowns: festive spend to drop almost £10bn, digital to flourish
Festive spending is forecast to decline a massive £9.674 billion during the six weeks leading up to Christmas as the impact of lockdowns bite, according to VoucherCodes.
Its ‘Shopping for Christmas 200’ report suggests the new restrictions in England in particular — with non-essential stores closed until 2 December — will result in an 11.6% drop in Christmas spending compared to the same six-week period last year. Wales has also been in lockdown but will emerge on November 9, while restrictions have been in place in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Prior to the English lockdown announcement, Christmas spending was expected to increase by £1.3 billion compared to 2019.
Naturally, a sharp rise in online sales is predicted due to the closure of many physical stores. Online sales are now forecast to make up 48% of the total retail sales, growing by a staggering 58% jump to £12.978 billion compares to a year ago.
Offline spending is set to drop 37% (£22.653 billion) on last year but will still make up 52% of total retail sales, due to certain items being available in essential stores, such as supermarkets and pharmacies.
On average, Britons are expected to spend £1,049.01 per head this Christmas, with Londoners forecast to shell out the most (£1,537.89 per head). This is followed by those in the South East (£1,273.85), East of England (£1,163.25), and the South West (£1,095.28).
Anita Naik, lifestyle editor at VoucherCodes, said: “With physical stores closing and people staying at home for at least four weeks, the rapid shift to online shopping is to be expected. Consumers have already started shopping for Christmas to ensure they don’t go without, and non-essential stores have been busier than they were in the run up to Christmas 2019.”
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