Christmas shopping season set to follow trends laid by the pandemic

Christmas Presents

Fin is a former junior editor at TechForge.

The boom e-commerce has seen during the pandemic is showing little sign of slowing down as the Christmas season approaches.

Cross-channel marketing platform Iterable spoke to 1,000 UK consumers to learn more about their upcoming shopping plans, finding that only 14% planned to complete all or most of their Christmas shopping in-store.

In comparison, the fact that 86% of respondents plan to complete at least half of their gift buying online this year highlights the staying power of the pandemic’s e-commerce growth.

Recommendation platform Outbrain’s recent findings show similar results. Its research found that 48% of consumers will be shopping exclusively online this festive season.

Elle Nadal, EMEA director of marketing at Iterable, said: “The pandemic has created a new status quo in retail, with customers far more willing to browse online than on the high street. Brands need to adjust to this new reality, building memorable, consistent experiences for customers wherever they choose to shop.”

Consumers’ change in shopping patterns compared to 2020 is notable, with 45% of shoppers planning to buy more online than last year. A large minority of 42% cited COVID-19 as the driving factor behind this decision.

Amidst these new patterns, confidence remains wobbly at best. More than half (56%) of respondents said COVID-19 was having a negative impact on their attitudes towards Christmas shopping.

Despite this, a majority (51%) of UK shoppers do plan to spend more on gifts this season than last year. With this in mind, brands that manage to instil confidence in consumers should be able to capitalise on their market share.

“Christmas this year will be more competitive than ever before,” added Nadal. “Customers have an unprecedented array of choice at their fingertips, and brands will need to go the extra mile to stand out. A sure-fire way to get noticed? Build trust. Authentic messaging is a big draw for consumers, especially in the face of supply chain and pandemic uncertainty. People need a brand they can trust. By delivering on transparency, businesses will be sure to stand out to shoppers.”

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