Britons to spend £8.4bn with indies for Xmas, fashion is key
UK shoppers plan to spend £8.4 billion on buying Christmas gifts from independent retailers, some £2 billion more that a year ago, new research from Direct Line business insurance shows.
That spend will account for an impressive 28% of Briton’s festive shopping budget, “providing SMEs with a much-needed boost after more than 18 months of uncertainty”, the report noted. What’s more, fashion will be the highest priority spend (10% of budget), it also showed.
Individually, consumers plan to spend an average of £204 on Christmas presents this year, compared with £157 in 2020.
And the reasons for shoppers targeting independent retailers? Mainly appreciation of the service SMEs provide, desire to give them a helping hand after Covid-19, quality of product and serviced convenience.
Almost three quarters (72%) of Britons feel it’s important to support their local businesses, with 70% wanting to help independent retailers bounce back from Covid difficulties and 68% wanting to support local employment.
Meanwhile, 44% reported that the quality of goods at independent stores is superior to those of major retail chains, while 57% find the customer service better than at larger businesses. For 59%, smaller retailers are also the best places for finding unique and unusual gifts.
Of those Britons who plan on buying their presents from small independent retailers, a third (29%) will buy their gifts online.
Unsurprisingly, 44% are doing so because online shopping is more convenient, but also reflecting the digital progress that small retailers have made since the pandemic hit. For 35%, shopping digitally was to avoid the Christmas shopping crowds. However, 22% say they are staying away from stores because they're concerned about the risk of catching Covid-19.
Of those preferring to shop in-store (26%) some 60% like to see the items in person, 27% like the social interactions involved in shopping locally, and 22% like to meet the business owners they are buying from, "demonstrating how important independent retailers are to the high street", the report said.
The research also revealed that 44% of consumers are trying to get their festive shopping done earlier this year due to concern about the pandemic, with 29% saying they will shop between two and four weeks earlier and nearly 39% saying they’ll do it a month or more in advance.
Of these shoppers, 38% are concerned about supply chain issues and shortages of stock, while one third are worried about Covid restrictions on non-essential retail being reinstated.
However, 24% are doing their shopping earlier simply because they are more excited about Christmas this year, given that last year’s celebrations were restricted.
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