Pandemic impact to influence UK Christmas, gifts to be more 'thoughtful'
The effects of the pandemic will impact the UK’s Christmas shopping season, even if a second wave doesn’t happen. That’s the conclusion of a new study from eBay Advertising.
It said that 27% of consumers are planning to start Christmas shopping and preparations earlier than they did last year and its UK site actually saw 44% more searches for ‘Christmas’ or ‘Xmas’ made on the site from April to May during lockdown compared to the same period in 2019.
The e-tailer also said some 34% of consumers have already bought some Christmas-related items this year and 37% intend to put “more thought into” the presents they give this time.
The insights are based a survey of 2,064 UK consumers who celebrate Christmas, but also on the huge traffic the UK site sees.
While 34% have started their Christmas shopping, much of that is focused on items like cards and wrapping paper. But 13% have already begun gift-buying. And a small 4% have bought festive clothes and accessories.
The pandemic means that “purchases are predicted to be more passion-driven”, with the research revealing that over half (56%) of consumers surveyed have taken up a new hobby or interest during the lockdown, and 31% observed a family member doing the same. Of those who have taken up a new hobby or interest, 75% intend to continue with it for at least the rest of the year — meaning these interests are likely to influence Christmas wish lists.
The research also indicated that financial insecurity could lead to shoppers making “more thoughtful” purchases this Christmas. Some 37% of respondents said that income or financial security was a top factor that will influence what they decide to buy or how they spend in the run up to Christmas. Last year UK consumers spent an average of £551 on Christmas shopping and celebrations. This year 44% are planning to spend the same, but 31% plan to spend less.
Harmony Murphy, Head of Advertising UK at eBay, said: “In a year steeped with uncertainty, the only thing we know for sure is that this year’s Christmas will be an incredibly important retail milestone. And, with so many events, occasions and gatherings cancelled this year, it’s easy to understand why Brits are already excited and planning ahead for a more thoughtful and meaningful celebration.
“However, with so much having changed – from plans and priorities to interests and incomes – brands now face a huge challenge as they look to make their Christmas campaigns relevant to a transformed consumer. If they haven’t already, marketers must start planning and putting Christmas strategies into action”.
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