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40% OF FESTIVE SHOPPERS STILL UP FOR GRABS AS RESEARCH SHOWS UK IS A NATION OF LAST MINUTE PRESENT PURCHASERS

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40% OF FESTIVE SHOPPERS STILL UP FOR GRABS AS RESEARCH SHOWS UK IS A NATION OF LAST MINUTE PRESENT PURCHASERS
  • Clothingand shoes top the list of Christmas gifts bought by late shoppers
  • Consumers leaving Christmas shopping until the week before the big day are more likely to impulse buy and snap up deals
  • Convenience is king for shoppers in the festive frenzy

With the Christmas countdown now on, new research reveals that there are still lucrative opportunities for merchants to snap up a chunk of the nation’s festive spend. Two in five Brits admit they won’t finish their festive shopping until a week or less before the big day compared to the 30% that finish with at least three weeks to spare.

The survey of 2,000 UK consumers by leading European payments provider, Klarna, found that 45-54 year olds are most likely to leave their shopping until the last minute. Half of this age group admit that they won’t have finished until there’s a week or less to go, whereas nearly 40% of millennials have their shopping done and dusted at least three weeks in advance.

Gifts are at the top of the list for those leaving their shopping until the eleventh hour. Almost 40% of their festive spend goes on presents, followed by 20% on Christmas groceries and a lot less on everything else – including decorations, outfits and going out.

Fashion items are the gift of choice for last minute shoppers, with 40% choosing to buy clothes and shoes as presents. These shoppers are also more likely than early-birds to gift beauty products (33% vs 29%), stocking fillers (26% vs 20%) and money (22% vs 19%), suggesting they prefer smaller, cheaper and easier gifts.

Though early buyers spent on average £264 more than last minuters last year, last minute shoppers are more likely to blow their budgets due to present paranoia, with 24% admitting they overspend out of guilt that they haven’t bought enough. This may explain why they also have an eye for a bargain, with the data revealing they are more likely to shop with retailers promoting festive deals and offers (54% vs 40%) and pre-Christmas sales (46% vs 38%).

With little time to spare, it’s no surprise that convenience is a top priority for last minute shoppers, who are fitting in shopping around busy schedules. While 59% of last minute shoppers will visit stores during weekends and 56% will shop online in the evenings, this is true for just 40% and 42% of early buyers. Those doing last minute shopping online are more likely to make impulse buys (42% vs 36%) and are less likely to stick to a planned list (33% vs 26%), meaning this is prime time for retailers to reach shoppers with targeted offers and inspiration.

Last minute shoppers are also more likely to shop with a merchant if checking out is quick and easy (34% vs 24%), if there are last minute deliveries (19% vs 15%) and if the merchant has an easy to navigate mobile site (15% vs 10%).

And the data highlights that allowing shoppers to stagger their payments, interest-free, could increase retailers’ sales. Both early and last minute shoppers agree that options such as buy now pay later or pay after delivery would make them more likely to shop with a merchant. This means that by offering more flexible payment opportunities, the total uplift in sales for UK merchants over the festive season could reach £2.3bn.

Luke Griffiths, UK General Manager of Klarna said, “While the frenzy of Black Friday may be over, there is still plenty of opportunity for retailers to capitalise on festive spending, particularly online. Merchants are in a great position to lessen the Christmas shopping burden and appeal to these last minute shoppers with targeted offers, a streamlined, hassle-free experience and flexible payment options.

“By understanding the needs of different shoppers during the festive period and optimising e-commerce offerings, retailers can gain competitive advantage and give Christmas sales a welcome boost.”

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Sunak to raise business tax to pay for COVID-19 support – The Sunday Times

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Sunak to raise business tax to pay for COVID-19 support - The Sunday Times 1

(Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak is set to increase a tax on business to pay for an extension to COVID-19 support schemes in the budget next month, The Sunday Times reported https://bit.ly/3ujaBcU.

Sunak, in his speech on March 3, will announce he is increasing corporation tax from 19 pence in the pound and will outline a pathway where it rises to 23 pence in the pound by the time of the next general election, the report said. The move will raise an expected 12 billion pounds ($16.8 billion) a year, the report added.

According to the report, at least 1 pence is set to be added to the bill for business from this autumn, at a cost to business of 3 billion pounds, with further rises in subsequent years.

Allies of Sunak clarified he would not increase corporation tax higher than 23%.

These measures will be helpful in paying for an extension to the furlough scheme, VAT cuts and business support loans until at least August.

Unlike the 2010 Conservative-led government, which pursued spending cuts to rebalance the economy after the global financial crisis, Sunak is expected to defer most of the toughest decisions about how to pay for that support in his budget speech.

“The corporation tax hike will be higher than expected and the extension of the support schemes will be longer than most people expect,” the newspaper quoted a source as saying.

Insiders indicated the stamp duty holiday on property purchases would also be extended in line with the other coronavirus support measures, the report said.

Britain’s economy had its biggest slump in 300 years in 2020, when it contracted by 10%, and will shrink by 4% in the first three months of 2021, the Bank of England predicts.

($1 = 0.7136 pounds)

 

(Reporting by Vishal Vivek in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

 

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Foxconn chairman says expects “limited impact” from chip shortage on clients

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Foxconn chairman says expects "limited impact" from chip shortage on clients 2

TAIPEI (Reuters) – The chairman of Apple Inc supplier Foxconn said on Saturday he expects his company and its clients will face only “limited impact” from a chip shortage that has rattled the global automotive and semiconductor industries.

“Since most of the customers we serve are large customers, they all have proper precautionary planning,” said Liu Young-way, chairman of the manufacturing conglomerate formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd

“Therefore, the impact on these large customers is there, but limited,” he told reporters.

Liu said he expected the company to do well in the first half of 2021, “especially as the pandemic is easing and demand is still being sustained.”

The global spread of COVID-19 has increased demand for laptops, gaming consoles, and other electronics. This caused chip manufacturers to reallocate capacity away from the automotive sector, which was expecting a steep downturn.

Now, car manufacturers such as Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co have cut output as chip capacity has shrunk.

Counterpoint Research says the shortage has extended to the smartphone sector, with application processors, display driver chips, and power management chips all facing a crunch.

However, the research firm predicts Apple will face a minimal impact, due to its large size and its suppliers’ tendency to prioritise it. Apple is Foxconn’s largest customer.

Foxconn is looking at other areas for growth, including in electric vehicles (EVs), and Liu said their EV development platform MIH now had 736 partner companies participating.

He expected it would have two or three models to show by the fourth quarter, though did not expect EVs to make an obvious contribution to company earnings until 2023.

Liu also said the company was still looking for semiconductor fab purchase opportunities in Southeast Asia after not winning a bid to take over a stake in Malaysia-based 8-inch foundry house Silterra.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Jeanny Kao; Writing by Josh Horwitz; Editing by William Mallard and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules

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EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules 3

By Sabine Siebold and Kate Abnett

BERLIN (Reuters) – Europe and the United States should join forces in the fight against climate change and agree on a new framework for the digital market, limiting the power of big tech companies, European Union chief executive Ursula von der Leyen said.

“I am sure: A shared transatlantic commitment to a net-zero emissions pathway by 2050 would make climate neutrality a new global benchmark,” the president of the European Commission said in a speech at the virtual Munich Security Conference on Friday.

“Together, we could create a digital economy rulebook that is valid worldwide: a set of rules based on our values, human rights and pluralism, inclusion and the protection of privacy.”

The EU has pledged to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, while President Joe Biden has committed the United States to become a “net zero economy” by 2050.

Scientists say the world must reach net zero emissions by 2050 to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial times and avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

The hope is that a transatlantic alliance could help persuade large emitters who have yet to commit to this timeline – including China, which is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2060, and India.

“The United States is our natural partner for global leadership on climate change,” von der Leyen said.

She called the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol a turning point for the discussion on the impact social media has on democracies.

“Of course, imposing democratic limits on the uncontrolled power of big tech companies alone will not stop political violence,” von der Leyen said. “But it is an important step.”

She was referring to a draft set of rules unveiled in December which aims to rein in tech companies that control troves of data and online platforms relied on by thousands of companies and millions of Europeans for work and social interactions.

They show the European Commission’s frustration with its antitrust cases against the tech giants, notably Alphabet Inc’s Google, which critics say have not addressed the problem.

But they also risk inflaming tensions with Washington, already irked by Brussels’ attempts to tax U.S. tech firms more.

Von der Leyen said Facebook’s decision on a news blackout on Thursday in response to a forthcoming Australian law requiring it and Google to share revenue from news underscored the importance of a global approach to dealing with tech giants.

(Additional reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Robin Emmott and Nick Macfie; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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