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Christmas shoppers start earlier but half don’t think we’ll have a normal celebration

Retail confidence returns as Christmas shoppers start early

Summer may yet still be in full swing, but that hasn’t deterred increasing numbers of over-enthusiastic Brits from starting their Christmas shopping this month.

A new report by eBay Ads found that a new mood of confidence is sweeping the nation as Covid-19 seemingly recedes, with 25% of British consumers turning their thoughts to December before the end of August.

The national mood brightens

  • Riding a wave of cautious optimism, consumers are loosening their purse strings with 60% optimistically anticipating a return to festivities as usual this year.

  • A widespread belief that the worst is now behind us has prompted 30% of consumers to up their budgets for presents and partying, but a sizable 45% are likely to hold off making any firm plans until circumstances become clear.

  • In all, 49% dare to believe that a traditional Christmas will be possible this year, while 25% believe that it will be more exciting (up from 16% in 2020) as people make up for lost time.

  • Budgets for Christmas presents and celebrations have been declining in recent years, falling from an average of £551.34 per person in 2019 to £527.88 in 2020, but eBay is confident that this trend will be thrown into reverse.

Christmas preparations in full swing

  • Eagerness to make up for lost time sees 27% of respondents throw themselves into Christmas preparations earlier than last year, with 41% expecting to be fully prepared before December even begins.

  • Fear of missing out has seen 30% of consumers consider bringing forward their celebrations to avoid any seasonal disruption.

  • Sporting goods, in particular, have taken off with searches up 262% in August compared to July, while Christmas-related searches in the clothes, shoes and accessories categories and home & furniture and DIY categories jumped 83% and 85% respectively.

Key brand takeaways

  • Naturally, eBay is seeking to position itself to capitalize on this spending surge as Christmas-related searches ramp up, comparable to a 66% boost in searches for terms such as ‘Christmas’ and ‘Xmas’ compared to July 2020.

  • Harmony Murphy, general manager advertising UK at eBay, said: “To make the most of the opportunity this presents, brands need to start engaging with customers early on to ensure they are front of mind when it’s time to purchase. And, taking into account ongoing uncertainty, brands should also look to tap into the mindsets of their customers to make sure they are interacting with them in meaningful and relevant ways – however they are feeling this Christmas.”

  • Pauline Robson, the managing partner at MediaCom UK, added: “The brands that will win this Christmas will be those that are able to use this insight to drive cultural relevance and to ensure that their campaigns reflect the diversity of their audiences. But if there is one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it’s that things can change quickly and that businesses need to be able to adapt and pivot in response, so flexibility will be key.”

Methodology

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