Any notion that Christmas will be cancelled this year has been greatly exaggerated, according to the 14th Annual Christmas Retail Survey from Deloitte.
The global auditor and advisory firm reports that for most of the UK population, the economic downturn will not be getting in the way of Christmas, with 57% of consumers saying that they plan to spend the same amounts as they did last year.
The data also shows that 19% are planning to increase their holiday season spending, although a great majority of this fell within the traditionally economically insensitive 16-24 age group.
Unsurprisingly, one of the most apparent trends from the survey is that consumers have become very price-conscious, with many people admitting that they plan to carefully shop around; comparing offline against online, which is something we also found in our Credit Crunch Survey.
Hitwise's data supports this, as overall, the internet is seeing consumers increasingly using price-comparison and discount-based websites to find the best online offers.
Following the retail trend, Deloitte's research indicates that online continues to overshadow the high-street, especially as the internet has become the favoured method of shopping for most Christmas consumers. This year it's expected that around two thirds of the entire UK population will be buying online.
Even though this is a similar amount of users as to last year, online spending for festive gifts and food is estimated to reach the £4.7bn mark, a 10% increase from 2007 (£4.2bn).
This means that the average online shopper is expected to spend around £773 over the holiday period, which is considerably more than the £655 the offline consumer is expected to pay out.
Whilst online retail will not be experiencing the cold shoulder this winter, it is important to note that whilst online spending is increasing, the growth rate of this has slowed down compared to previous years.
Consequently, there will be a highly competitive retail environment in the next few weeks leading up to Christmas; both offline and online. Although the latter will still be more profitable, etailers will have to work harder than previous times, as the need to offer more to selective online consumers is greater than ever before.
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