Christmas shopping

Retailers are facing a stock balancing act this Christmas as shoppers are adopting a wait and see approach to festive planning.

According to research conducted by Lumina Intelligence as part of its weekly measure of shopper and consumer behaviour across all UK food and drink channels, 59% of consumers are waiting to see what government restrictions will be in place before making any plans for Christmas.

The research does suggest that retailers shouldn’t panic though as despite the reluctance to make plans and the possible restrictions around large gatherings, only 13% of consumers are planning on buying less food and drink for Christmas lunch/dinner than they did last year.

While most shoppers are delaying their Christmas shopping until more information around government restrictions is available, retailers may face additional challenges around merchandising and managing stock levels. This is further muddled by the fact that the research also found that in contrast to those waiting for more information, 10% of shoppers are planning on purchasing their groceries for Christmas lunch/dinner earlier this year, due to coronavirus.

Move towards value

The report also found that there may be more of a focus on value this year. Historically, Christmas is time when shoppers trade up and treat themselves to more premium products. It found that, in light of the current circumstances, only 3% of shoppers are planning to trade up to more premium/expensive food or drink products this Christmas. In fact, 79% of shoppers indicated that value for money was important to them when purchasing gifts and groceries this Christmas.

Other findings from the Channel Pulse report highlighted that shoppers are also focusing on sustainability and eating mindfully this Christmas. Over half of shoppers say that sustainability is important to them and four-in-ten state mindful eating e.g. healthier eating as important to them when purchasing gifts and groceries this Christmas.

Insight manager at Lumina Intelligence Greta Glaveckaite said: “Christmas and premiumisation generally go hand-in-hand, as shoppers look to treat themselves during the festive period. However, this year, as uncertainty around the UK economy and the impact of coronavirus continues, shoppers are looking to tighten their belts and limit unnecessary expenses. Focusing on value for money could be key to driving footfall this Christmas, rather than premium ranges.”

“Retailers are also left with challenges around merchandising, as nearly two thirds of shoppers are delaying making Christmas plans until more information on government guidelines is available. On a positive note, despite the current restrictions around gatherings, only 13% of shoppers are planning on buying fewer food and drink items this year.”