London, October 04, 2022 – Affordability is a top concern for shoppers this festive season, according to Sitecore’s Holiday Shopping Trends 2022 report, a survey of over 2,000 UK consumers. With 41% saying that not being able to afford Christmas will ruin the festive season, and 33% confirming they will spend less this year, retailers must expertly price their goods and deliver the digital moments, content and experiences that matter to perfection in order to stand a chance of turning a profit this year.

Brits have already started thinking about how to face the affordability crunch:

  • 42% are cutting back on personal expenditures like eating out or going out with friends – something that 47% of Millennials will do
  • 42% of parents say they’re likely to only buy gifts for their kids this year
  • 37% are using points or rewards they’ve accumulated with brands over the year
  • 24% are selling some of their personal possessions on online marketplaces (35% Gen Z; 34% Millennials)
  • 18% are taking a side job or working more hours (34% Gen Z; 23% Millennials)
  • 17% are cutting subscription-based services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime

The majority of UK shoppers (75%) will be looking to purchase cheaper gifts this year, and are willing to “put in the work” while at work to find the best deals. Half admit to holiday shopping during their workday and over a third (37%) have used a secret internet browsers to avoid being detected.

‘As we continue to face turbulent economic times, our findings serve as a wake-up call for marketers and brands that are launching and optimising their festive campaigns,’ said Paige O’Neill, Chief Marketing Officer at Sitecore. ‘If brands are to attract shoppers and ensure a successful retail quarter, it’s imperative that they respond to customer worries around affordability. Retailers must put measures in place to help ease the pressure on shoppers so they can truly make this Christmas the most wonderful time of the year. Brands can use our data, as well as their own insights, to create personalised content, offers and experiences that will impress customers, earn their trust and ensure they remain loyal during this acute financial crisis.’

UK spending on non-essential items is set to plummet by £12bn this Christmas. And while reducing prices is one option much valued by shoppers, the negative effect on profit margins is marked. Instead, retailers can use alternative ways to meet customer expectations and secure sales. Leaning into convenience is one such approach. One in four respondents said they would appreciate extended opening hours to dodge the crowds and making more online delivery slots available would also help.

Christmas must haves

While it is likely that 2022 will be the year of fewer, cheaper gifts, there are some Christmas traditions that consumers won’t scrimp on. These so called “must-haves” include:

  • Gifts for people’s own children (58%)
  • Gifts for others’ kids (50%)
  • Alcohol (47%)
  • A turkey (44%)
  • Spending time with family (44%)

UK consumers stated they would spend half their Christmas budget on gifts, just over a third (36%) on food and the remainder on entertainment. This heavy weighting on food and drink should be good news for Britain’s supermarkets.  

The online shopping boom continues

Despite eased restrictions on in-person shopping, online commerce continues to dominate in most categories except food & drink and beauty. In fact, half of Gen Z and Millennials say that all or most of their shopping will be done online. Online shopping is preferred because it is:

  • Quick and easy (61%)
  • More convenient (58%)
  • Avoids the crowds (51%)
  • Saves on costs driving to the shops (e.g. petrol and parking) (24%)
  • People spend more when shopping in-person (24%)

While sales and buy-one-get-one free are seen as great incentives to drive online shopping, nearly one in four UK consumers say that free shipping is most likely to prompt them to purchase an item. In fact, over two thirds (70%) won’t purchase an item if it doesn’t offer free shipping, while the majority (78%) will add more items to their shopping basket to meet the minimum required for free shipping.

Sitecore commissioned this research for the second year running to provide insight to brands and retailers looking to understand consumer attitudes ahead of the festive season and prepare for the Golden Quarter. This will help them to better tailor content and create personalised digital experiences to win customers over.

Notes to editors

About Sitecore’s Holiday Shopping Trends 2022 Report

Sitecore commissioned Advanis to conduct a survey among consumers, reflecting the attitudes and priorities for this year’s Christmas season, particularly around how the rising cost of living. The study polled 2,156 UK consumers in August 2022. The full report, released today, also explores what marketers and brands can do to support customers so they can enjoy what could well be a difficult festive season. You can access the full report here.

About Sitecore

Sitecore is a global leader of end-to-end digital experience software. Unifying data, content, commerce, and experiences, our SaaS-enabled, composable platform empowers brands like L’Oréal, Microsoft, United Airlines, and PUMA to deliver unforgettable interactions across every touchpoint. Our solution provides the cutting-edge tools brands need to build stronger connections with customers, while creating content efficiencies to stand out as transformation and innovation leaders. Experience more at sitecore.com.

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