According to recent research by ShipEngine and Retail Economics, UK consumers are expected to spend £3bn less this Christmas compared to the previous year. In this blog post, we’ll explore the new findings and what eCommerce businesses need to know as consumer spending habits change this festive season. 

The new study suggests that UK shoppers could spend around £17.9 billion during Black Friday and the festive season, driven by the hunt for budget-friendly deals and competitive prices. The research also revealed that 40% of consumers plan to get a head start on their shopping, with some starting as early as October. 

Listening to consumers this festive season 

As online shopping sees a 64% rise compared to the previous year, retailers must ensure they’re capitalising on this. Following the research, eCommerce brands should take note of the following:

  • Consumers want festive promotions sooner rather than later and will be looking for transparent pricing 
  • If delivery costs remain high, consumers want it fast 
  • Consumers will favour flexible return policies 
  • Rewards and loyalty programmes that offer something beyond the first purchase will go a long way with consumers 
  • Consider offering buy-now-pay-later schemes like Klarna as consumers look to spread the cost of Christmas 

By proactively addressing concerns related to cost and providing a positive shopping experience, eCommerce businesses can encourage more customers and nurture loyalty beyond the festive season. 

eCommerce shopping scene with laptop, credit cards and wrapped christmas presents

Retail trends to pay attention to this Christmas 

Research by Mintel indicates that although consumers are still willing to spend during the festive season (albeit less than last year), consumer attitudes towards gift buying are predicted to shift this Christmas. According to the study, alongside cost saving, shoppers will see sustainability as a priority and will be looking for more thoughtful and ethically minded gifts. 

With this in mind, online retailers should prioritise promotional messaging across their website and social media channels that highlight any sustainability initiatives and consider messaging around being thoughtful this Christmas, opting for gifts that offer gift receivers sentiment as well as quality. 

In addition to sustainability, the trend towards personalised gifts is gaining momentum. Consumers are seeking unique and meaningful presents that reflect the individual tastes and preferences of their loved ones. Online retailers can capitalise on this by promoting customisable items or curated gift sets that cater to various interests and personalities.

Given the economic climate and changing consumer behaviours, retailers should consider extending their Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions throughout the festive season. Retailers should communicate these extended offers clearly to engage customers over an extended period.

Shopping trolley with pink Christmas gift

Adapting strategies for new shopping habits 

In navigating the evolving landscape of consumer spending this Christmas, eCommerce businesses must adjust to changing habits and embrace opportunities to enhance the customer experience. 

By aligning promotional strategies with consumer expectations, offering flexibility in services, and staying attuned to emerging trends like sustainability and personalisation, online retailers can position themselves to meet and exceed customer expectations during this festive season and beyond.

Digital PR can make a big difference for eCommerce brands. Creating compelling and relatable stories and ensuring more customers see them online can strengthen brand messages and build or retain relationships. 

Encouraging user-generated content and testimonials can also add authenticity to the brand’s narrative, creating a more relatable and trustworthy image. By monitoring social media trends and engaging in conversations, brands can remain responsive, addressing customer concerns promptly. To learn more about standing out during the festive season, check out our recent blog on breaking through the noise during peak shopping seasons

If you want to learn more about adapting your PR and marketing strategy to align with evolving consumer spending habits, contact the Wild PR team or book a 30-minute introductory call with Katrina Cliffe.

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