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  • Retailers look to drive festive sales as online spend continues to grow at expense of high street
  • Families to spend 54% more than their European counterparts on gifts, food & drink and Christmas decorations
  • Christmas spending during final six weeks set to rise 1.4% YoY to £78.69billion
  • Online shopping set to soar in 2017, with spend up by 10% on last year 

With just eight weeks to go until Christmas, new research by VoucherCodes and the Centre of Retail Research (CRR) reveals British families are set to spend £821.25 on Christmas 2017, up 1.3 per cent on 2016 (£809.97) – and 54% more than their European counterparts, who will spend an average of £532.01 (€612.90) on this year’s festivities.   The news will be a welcome lift for retailers, as fears of Brexit instability look set to have little impact on shoppers’ Christmas spending.

In-store vs. Online

Once again, the key battleground for retailers will be online, as spending continues to grow on PC, tablet and mobile. According to data from the CRR, online Christmas spending is set to grow 11.8 per cent on 2016, and is now the main driver of retail growth. However, these gains are set to be increasingly at the expense of the high street, with sales in physical shops expected to drop by 2.5 per cent in the UK. This decrease in bricks and mortar retail is higher than other European countries, who are set to experience an average of 1.1% decrease. 

Those who plan to shop online will do so to avoid busy crowds (68 per cent), escape the long queues (62 per cent) and to more easily compare prices and reviews (50 per cent). Meanwhile, nearly one quarter (23 per cent) will plan to exclusively shop online to avoid having to put up with repetitive festive jingles. On the flipside, consumers claimed being able to touch and feel the products before making a purchase (59 per cent) was the biggest advantage associated with shopping in-store, in addition to being able to receive the item straight after purchasing (49 per cent).

 Mobile eCommerce

Overall in Europe, spending on mobile is forecast to rise to 44.3% (£28.57 billion) of online business. UK shoppers are ahead of the trend with their mobiles, with an expected 54% of Christmas online sales to take place on mobile. Only shoppers in Germany are predicted to carry out more of their spending on their mobile – at 50.2%.

Household Christmas Spend

A huge £78.69 billion will pass through the tills and online baskets this Christmas in the UK, up 1.4 per cent on 2016, as British families buy must-have presents, festive food and drink, and decorations. The biggest increases in spend year-on-year will be on Christmas travel, which is up 7.2 per cent on 2016 to £89.52. This is followed by festive decorations at £31.20, up 6.9 per cent on last year.

Breakdown Christmas Spend Per Household

GiftsFood & DrinkChristmas TravelDecorationsTotal
2017 £475.51











Christmas Gift Spending Per Head

Individuals are set to personally spend £244 on gifts, up 1.3 per cent on last year (£240.41), and 51.5 per cent more than the European average of £160.82 (€185.28). Alcohol, jewellery and books remain popular gift choices, all up year-on-year, whilst money and gift cards are down by 10.5 per cent. 

Breakdown of Christmas Spend Per Head

Gift20162017% Difference
Money, Gift Cards, Vouchers£26.42£23.64-10.5%
Consumer Electronics£49.54£45.34-8.4%
Books, entertainment£17.31£19.26+11.26%
Alcohol, confectionary£11.06£12.92+16%

Paul Lewis, Senior Director of Marketing at VoucherCodes said:“Despite ongoing economic uncertainty with Brexit and rising inflation, it seems Brits are still happy to splash their cash to make the most of the festive season, with spend across all major categories seeing a year-on-year rise.

 “For those that want to shop for Christmas on a shoestring this year, shoppers should check voucher apps and websites to ensure they are getting the best deal on all their festive purchases.”

To help spread the cost of Christmas, 15 per cent of people in the UK have been buying items throughout the year, while more than one in ten (12 per cent) will wait for popular discount shopping days such as Black Friday to pick up bargains. Surprisingly, 4 per cent claim they will finish their Christmas shopping before Halloween, perhaps to give themselves additional time to pay off debt and store cards before the big day.