Tips to cater for last-minute shoppers: Convenience is king

With the final Christmas countdown now on, we’ve released new research on the Nation’s Christmas spending habits - revealing there are still lucrative opportunities for retailers to snap up a chunk of consumers’ festive spend.

The survey, which interviewed 2,000 UK consumers, showed that 30% of Brits have their Christmas shopping all wrapped up with at least three weeks to spare. However, two in five admit they won’t finish their shopping until a week or less before the big day, highlighting showing the importance of catering to last minute Christmas shoppers.

And challenging generation generalisation, it’s the well prepared millennials who have come out as the most organised - with 40% of 25-34 year olds finishing their shopping with three weeks to go. On the other hand, half of 45-55 year olds leave their shopping to the last minute.

With this is mind, it’s clear there are still plenty of opportunities for retailers to capitalise on Christmas spending, particularly online, by appealing to these last minute shoppers with targeted offers.

What are the key takeaways from the report for retailers to bear in mind?

Convenience is king

With little time to spare, it’s no surprise that convenience is a top priority for many last minute shoppers. There’s a huge opportunity for online retailers, with almost 56% shopping online during evenings, compared to just 42% of early buyers.

Late shoppers are also more likely to make impulse buys (42% vs 26%), and are less likely to stick to a planned list, meaning this is prime time for retailers to reach shoppers with targeted offers and festive inspiration.

Gifts and groceries

Gifts are at the top of the list for those leaving their shopping to the eleventh hour. Almost 40% of their festive spend goes on presents, followed by 20% on Christmas groceries and a lot less on everything else – including decorations, outfits and going out.

And it’s revealed that fashion items are the gift of choice for last minute shoppers, with 40% choosing to buy clothes and shoes as presents. They are also more likely than early birds to gift beauty products (33% vs 29%), stocking fillers (26% vs 20%) and money (22% vs 19%).

Seamless Christmas Shopping

The research also confirms that accommodating to the consumer’s needs is crucial to the longevity and success of the retailer, whatever the season.

The research showed that late shoppers are more likely to shop with a merchant if the checkout is quick and easy (35% vs 24%), if there are last minute delivery options (19% vs 15%) and if the merchant has an easy to navigate mobile site (15% vs 10%).

And the data shows that giving shoppers flexible payment options  - such as allowing them to stagger payments, interest-free, or pay after delivery -  could help boost sales and conversion rates.

Both early bird and last minute shoppers agree that they would be more likely to shop with a retailer that offered these payment options and more likely to increase the size of their shopping baskets - delivering a potential total uplift in sales for UK merchants of up to £2.3bn.

Retailers are in a prime position to lessen the Christmas shopping burden - and by understanding the needs of different shoppers during the festive period and optimising ecommerce offerings, merchants can gain competitive advantage and give Christmas sales a welcome boost.

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