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UK Christmas shopping - Statistics & Facts

Christmas season is an exciting time not just because of seeing loved ones, but also for retailers, as sales figures peak during this period. However, excitement was curbed in 2020, as Christmas spending dipped due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Whilst COVID-19 is still a concern in 2021, many people are trying to celebrate the Christmas season as normal. With fewer restrictions in the holiday season than at the same time in the previous year, seasonal sales were forecast to recover in 2021, marginally surpassing pre-pandemic levels. These forecasted sales figures for the United Kingdom ranked as the highest in Europe, with expected sales worth 10 billion pounds more than those in second-placed Germany.

Christmas shopping in the UK

A theme that emerged in 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic and lockdown measures was the record-breaking highs of online shopping. Whilst online sales are not expected to achieve the same level in 2021, numbers remain high. More consumer surveys revealed that a large share of Christmas shopping is going to be done online this year. Among the online stores where UK consumers are set to purchase this Christmas season is amazon.co.uk. Amazon ranked as the leading online store where consumers planned to buy their Christmas gifts. UK’s own Argos.co.uk and Tesco.com were also popular choices.
With non-essential shops open in the UK since April 12th 2021, Christmas shoppers had greater opportunity to shop in-store than in the previous year. This was seen in a rise in store-based sales, although not enough to match 2019 levels. The number of visitors to the high streets is predicted to decline by around 18 percent compared to 2019.

Supply shortages

A less direct result of the coronavirus pandemic that could prove to threaten Christmas shopping in 2021 is the disruption to the supply chain. Many shoppers were worried about big delays in deliveries or not even being able to find the goods that they were after. This led to many consumers doing their Christmas shopping early, to ensure they got everything they needed.

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