Christmas infographic

Despite a volatile year for retailers, the good news is that consumers anticipate spending the same amount as last year on Christmas gifts. This year, more consumers took advantage of Black Friday discounts with an increase in the number purchasing gifts during the event. Conversely, half of consumers do not foresee spending in the post-Christmas sales, an increase of +7% compared to 2015, indicating a continued change in consumer attitudes towards traditional sale periods.

When looking for Christmas gifts, consumers want a large range, good quality and low prices. Websites and store displays are becoming more important for consumers in the purchase journey, whilst the influence of adverts and catalogues as sources of inspiration is starting to wane. This shift highlights the importance of a great experience across physical and digital channels. Unsurprisingly, Amazon continues to be a clear winner in the Christmas shopping battle, with 60% of consumers purchasing from the online retailer.

The last 12 months and the year ahead

In my opinion, the last 12 months has seen too much distraction by one word, Bre….I can’t even bring myself to say it. Along with a white Christmas and the latest tech gadget, my wish for the festive holiday is to not have to hear that word once. I am hoping the Queen agrees and can focus on discussing Christmas with Meghan come 3pm on the 25th.

2018 needs to be a year of just getting on with it.

Brands and operators will continue to look at innovative and prudent ways to tackle the three cost headwinds (property, COGS, labour) whilst not allowing this to affect the pursuit of outstanding customer service – at a time when consumer confidence is low. The rising cost of doing business has already resulted in some casualties and we sadly predict more to come in 2018. However, some businesses are quietly progressing strongly and there will be plenty of success stories on which to focus. We predict further consolidation in 2018, with some of the most notable deals of the last 12 months (Tesco/Booker and Amazon/Whole Foods) a sign of things to come. What might be next on Amazon’s shopping list in the UK? We will keep on top of the activity and always be there to share our view.

We hope all our Pragmatist readers can switch off this Christmas and enjoy the festive break and we look forward to working with you in 2018.

We have once again made a seasonal donation in lieu of sending Christmas cards to Back Up, our charity partner, who transform lives after spinal cord injury.

Tom Holt
CEO