More than half of retailers feel confident about Christmas trading, with the majority expecting spending to be up compared with 2012. Two thirds of retailers believe that practical presents will be more popular while only a third expect shoppers to spend on more frivolous and novelty gifts as consumers remain watchful of the wider economic climate.
The survey also found that more than half of retailers are expecting an ‘appy’ Christmas with sales made using mobile devices and tablets predicted to enjoy a rapid rise, as shoppers continue to migrate towards digital devices.
When it comes to what will be wrapped up under the Christmas tree, mobile devices and techie gadgets (21%) and beauty products (19%) are set to be the most popular purchases followed by clothing (11.5%).
Nearly 65% of retailers believe online traffic will rise by at least 11% on Christmas Day, compared with last year. The first surge of online activity is expected between 15:00 and 16:00, before it peaks between 20:00 and 22:00 on Christmas night.
Richard Lowe, Head of Retail and Wholesale at Barclays, said: “Christmas Day may be one of only two days a year when retailers are not physically able to throw open their doors but, that won’t stop consumers bagging sales bargains online. This means more festive cheer for retailers looking to maximise sales during the all-important Christmas period”.
Almost half of those surveyed are worried about how to get Christmas shopping to consumers’ doors. This is closely followed by concerns over whether websites will cope with the anticipated increase in festive traffic and the weather, which caused considerable disruption to Christmas trade two years ago, is mentioned by around a third.
Websites will be under no greater pressure than on Monday, 2 December, traditionally the busiest online shopping day of the year. Nearly two thirds of high street retailers (63%) expect website traffic to increase by 11%.