Christmas gift spending set to increase by 65% as sentimental shoppers ignore economic downturn, research from Quantum Metric finds

Quantum Metric Survey Suggests 65% Uplift in Festive Gift Spending as UK Shoppers Strive for 2021 Christmas to Remember

More than two thirds (66.84%) of the British public say this year’s Christmas will be more emotional or important than it was before the pandemic, with almost half (49.4%) planning to spend more on gifts and celebrating as a result. That’s according to a new survey on 2021 holiday shopping behaviours from Quantum Metric, the pioneer in Continuous Product Design (CPD) that helps organisations build better digital products faster. The survey has found that shoppers plan to spend an average of £489 each on gifts, an increase of 64% on 2019, and leading to a potential national economic boost of up to £31.9Bn.

The results showed a direct correlation between emotion and increased festive spending. More than half (54.81%) of those who said Christmas will be more important to them this year, were likely to spend more than they did in 2019. Of those who saw this Christmas as less important, only 25% planned to spend more. In addition, more than half (51.85%) of consumers said they would choose gifts with a personal tie to the recipient.

In more evidence of the ecommerce acceleration, mobile shoppers were the most generous, planning to spend an average of £509 on Christmas gifts this year, totalling a potential economic boost of £29B, and online shoppers plan to spend an average of £497. In further signs of high street woe, in-store shoppers planned to spend the least at only £465. 

To add to the survey data, capturing customer insights across $77B of retail ecommerce transactions, the Quantum Metric platform has seen a 16% increase in quarterly online sales for the first half of 2021. The company predicts another rapid surge in ecommerce Christmas sales similar to the spike the platform saw in November and December of 2020. Today’s survey data suggests that this prediction is likely to come to fruition.

“The surge in ecommerce sales for the 2020 holiday season was not just a reaction to the pandemic, it represented a major shift in how UK consumers browse and purchase products,” said Alex Thomson, RVP, EMEA for Quantum Metric. “It’s not going to be enough to just support online shopping transactions; consumers today want a curated digital experience as personal as the gift being purchased. 

“These results also show that the barrier between digital and physical shopping is dissolving and this is a trend that’s here to stay.  To meet shoppers’ expectations and even grow any level of loyalty, retailers need to change their approach to selling.  Buying is increasingly linked to the buyer’s emotional state, meaning that their online experience has to be positive, seamless and personal to them and their needs. This attitude to digital offerings is going to be vital to survival.” 

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • 46.55% will start their Christmas shopping in September / October, with only 12.10% leaving it to Black Friday and 5.75% cutting it fine until the last week
  • Only 10% (9.95%) say they’ll spend less this year than in 2019, suggesting a declining economy is not affecting people’s willingness to splash out on the big day (40.65% will spend the same)
  • But although people plan to spend more on the whole, value is the prevailing factor in purchase decisions, with only a fifth (19.9%) planning to shop for luxury goods
  • Two thirds (69%) say they look for items they’ve seen in-store for a lower price online using their mobile device

1 Average planned UK Christmas gift spend in 2019 was £299 according to Statista: