Mintel predicts UK sales will improve but performance will depend on retailers’ approach to pre-Christmas discounting.
Christmas retail sales are predicted to rise 2.5% to £42.2bn this year but this depends on retailers’ approach to the all-important Black Friday.
Research from Mintel shows that a fifth of consumers bought gifts online and 11% in store on Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year, while 23% of UK consumers said they will put off making big purchases until they have seen the Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions this year, the research found.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday kicked off the Christmas promotion season last year, boosting November retail sales by 1.5% to reach £440m in 2015. Of those who bought items on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, 55% said they bought things they would have normally waited to buy in the January sales and 26% held off spending ahead of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions.
This year, a fifth of shoppers plan to shop online more for Christmas 2016, rising to 24% of men and 28% of 16-to-24-year-olds. The top three reasons why UK shoppers made their purchases online this year were to get cheaper prices (55%), to avoid the crowds (49%) and to shop when it suited them (49%).
“December 2016’s results will very much depend on what retailers do about Black Friday, but if they cut back on such promotions then there will be a knock-on benefit to December, as sales roll over into this month,” said Richard Perks, director of retail research at Mintel.
“In 2015, December’s results were weak, partly because of Black Friday and partly because of the unseasonal weather, which seems to have been a constant story over the last year. So the comparisons this Christmas are easier.”