Predicting how people are going to approach buying presents is always difficult. Judging by the swarms that have been invading Oxford Street since autumn half-term, shopping for the festive season has started early.
Will more people pound the high streets this year following the scare of the Royal Mail strikes, rather than risk presents ordered online or through catalogues not turning up in time?
According to the latest research, more shoppers than ever will be settling down in front of their computer screens to choose presents for their beloved, say GSI Commerce.
Despite worries that people aren’t going to spend this Christmas, the research claims that online shoppers are actually going to increase their spending this year.
A quarter of people say they are willing to spend more than £1,000 on a product via a website, compared with 12% in 2008. It appears that consumers are no longer reluctant to spend large amounts of cash online.
More surprising perhaps is the fact that less consumers than last year are putting a budget on their Christmas spending (32% compared to 48%).
Meanwhile, others are predicting that some retailers will be experiencing a lean Christmas. Shoppers will be cutting their spending this year on certain items, according to Verdict Research.
Consumers will be spending less on gifts and more on food and drink, according to the agency. Sales of electricals and homewares will take a hit in favour of ensuring a full spread at the dinner table, claims Verdict.
Verdict predicts that overall spend will drop dramatically by £535m during the last three months of this year, which will surely hurt those high-street stores counting on festive cheer to bolster their bottom line.
While market research can draw on the insights of what their respondents tell them, Christmas is just one of those times of year where it’s impossible to tell what shoppers will do to enjoy the festive season.
We’ll just have to wait until the New Year to see which predictions come true. Retailers will be hoping that any worries of the recession will be put aside so they can enjoy a bumper final quarter following tough trading conditions throughout 2009.