C-stores should offer ‘solution-driven retailing’ up to and including Christmas Day to cater for the 20% of shoppers who leave their food and drink purchases until the week before 25 December, research suggests.

A survey by HIM Research & Consulting also found that 8% do some of their food and drink shopping on Christmas Day itself and will be looking for last-minute deals and solutions.

HIM’s communications manager Katie Littler said: “We expect ‘solution-driven retailing’ to really excel this Christmas.

“Rather than just selling Christmas products, retailers will be thinking about how can we provide our shoppers with a complete solution. How can we help make decisions for our shoppers, how can we make their lives easier. Full availability until the end will be key.”

Separate research from IGD found that the majority (53%) of shoppers buy food and drink on impulse at Christmas, while one in four are open to trying new products.

IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch said: “While many shoppers do shop in advance, this is also a time for spontaneous and adventurous purchases.

“Competition is set to be as intense as ever and not only on price. Those retailers and suppliers who combine to offer excellent value plus a compelling in-store experience will capitalise on the strong emotional connection between food, drink and Christmas.”

IGD predicts that the UK grocery market will experience 1.2% growth over the Christmas period, with shoppers spending £20.6bn. However, online shopping is expected to generate the fastest growth, with a predicted 9.3% uplift to £1.2bn in sales.

“The launch of Amazon Fresh and of Aldi Online this year extends shoppers’ choice and people will also benefit from more one-hour delivery slots, shorter lead times and the growing availability of click and collect from established players,” Denney-Finch said.