Britons are rallying together in the spirit of Christmas in a bid to prevent coronavirus restrictions from spoiling the party, according to WPP out-of-home (OOH) agency Kinetic Worldwide research. More than half of UK adults state that Christmas is more important than ever this year with consumers already hitting stores in anticipation, despite an increase in online shopping.
Christmas ‘more important than ever'
A majority of UK adults are clinging to Christmas to see them through a pandemic winter, with 75% of 18-34-year-olds viewing seasonal festivities as more important than ever.
The survey found 28% of early birds have already commenced their Christmas shopping with the majority (58%), refusing to countenance any reduction in spending.
16% fully intend to spend more, embracing retail therapy to banish the gloom of darkening nights and a worsening pandemic.
An additional 25% expect to begin their shopping sprees before the month is out and 23% report undertaking preparations for the end of year festivities earlier than usual.
Despite a spike in online shopping UK, shoppers are sticking to tradition and the high street for their gift buying, with 37% planning to do at least some shopping in-store and 33% viewing the bricks and mortar experience as essential for inspiration.
Christmas shopping habits
The rollout of local lockdowns in Greater Manchester and parts of Lancashire has yet to translate into changed shopping patterns on the ground, with footfall across Greater Manchester dipping just 1-2% since ’rule of six’ restrictions were enforced.
Counterintuitively, Covid-19 hotspots in Lancashire and Wales saw footfall increase by 1-2% as locals dismissed concerns.
This effect was most striking in areas such as Caerphilly, Glamorgan, where footfall rebounded 5% week-on-week despite the imposition of even stricter restrictions.
No masking the desire to shop in-store
One sign of the times is the prevalence of face masks, something which has become established practice among consumers – with 80% agreeing that a mouth guard was only a minor inconvenience. Only 21% said they were reducing time spent on the high street as a result.
A spike in lockdown online spending may prove to be short-lived with Kinetic’s survey indicating that just 31% will spend more online compared to the pre-pandemic norm.
By contrast, 56% of adults go out of their way to shop in-store wherever possible while 63% of 18-34-year-olds report missing the outdoor shopping experience.
Nicole Lonsdale, chief planning officer at Kinetic, said: “Our study suggests a remarkable resilience in people’s shopping behaviour and a steely determination amongst UK consumers to make the most of this year’s Christmas season.“
Lonsdale continued: “While marketing budgets are still under revision, OOH is one of the most adaptive channels that can reach audiences at different points of their purchase journey. With Christmas being more important to consumers than ever before, brands should use this as an opportunity to bring the festive feeling to them.”