Festive splurge or Christmas cutback

It’s time to talk about Christmas shopping, people. Apologies for broaching the subject before December has even begun, but it appears there is already much debate about how the economy is going to affect the way we celebrate this year. Various research agencies are trying to use their skills to anticipate 2009’s shopping trends.

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.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here