The vast majority of British households are not planning to tighten the purse strings this Christmas, a survey has found, despite the ongoing Brexit uncertainty and gloomy retail sales predictions.
According to a survey of shoppers by consultancy firm Accenture, 87 per cent of UK shoppers are planning to spend the same or more than last year this festive season.
Meanwhile, more than half of respondents – 57 per cent – said that that political uncertainty fueled by the ongoing Brexit deadlock will have no impact on their festive spending whatsoever.
The findings stand in contrast to predictions that the timing of the upcoming election in the crucial run up to Christmas, and ongoing consumer uncertainty, will knock retail sales this year and batter the already ailing industry.
Either way, it looks set to be a nail biting Golden Quarter for retailers, with nearly half of shoppers – 47 per cent – planning to leave most of their shopping until the final weekend before Christmas.
It is younger shoppers in particular that are planning to spend more than last year.
Accenture found that 45 per cent of younger millennials and 38 per cent of Gen Z are looking to push the boat out on festive food, children’s toys and clothes.
Accenture’s Andrew Carlisle says: ‘There’s no doubt that it’s been an incredibly difficult year for retailers. There have already been more job losses and more store closures than 2018 – with the year not even being up yet.
‘But the high street gloom doesn’t seem to have dampened shoppers’ spirits this festive season, buoyed by younger consumers planning to spend big over the holidays.’
The survey of 1,500 shoppers also found that environmental concerns will impact people’s shopping habits this year and result in a boost for the second hand or ‘pre-loved’ market.
More than half of respondents say they would welcome second-hand gifts, while 35 per cent will adopt a no-gift policy, give homemade gifts or opt to give money to charity instead.
An eco-conscious 13 per cent said they won’t wrap presents, and most say they would pay a premium for a product that is more environmentally sustainable.
A move away from gifting could trigger a boom in spending on food and festive celebrations.
Lynda Petherick from Accenture says: ‘While some retailers have started to introduce recycling schemes and product lines with higher sustainability credentials, they are still in the minority, presenting a huge opportunity for agile retailers to tap into a growing customer segment.