Only 2% of consumers start to shop for presents in the week before Christmas, new data has revealed.

Despite hopes from retailers for a bumper weekend, exclusive Retail Week research from Walnut Unlimited has found that the vast majority of shoppers like to start their present buying early.

The poll of 1,130 shoppers on November 10-11 found that 83% of shoppers began Christmas shopping in or before November. Twelve per cent said that they would start gift shopping until the beginning of December, while only 2% said that they would begin Christmas shopping in the week before Christmas Day. 

Over two-thirds of shoppers (68%) said they planned to spend around the same as they did last year and 15% said they would spend more, with those aged 18-34 most likely (19%) to do so.

Almost half of consumers felt worried about the cost of Christmas. Younger consumers were more worried, with those aged 35-44 most likely (61%) to feel concerned, closely followed by those aged 18-34 (58%). Women were also more likely to worry about cost than men (51% vs 41%).

Reassuringly for high street retailers, 43% of consumers still wanted a physical shopping experience when buying gifts, though a greater share (48%) preferred to shop online.

Nearly half (42%) planned to buy festive food at Tesco. This was followed by Sainsbury’s and Aldi, with 32% each. Just over one quarter (27%) planned to shop at Asda and a quarter plan to spend with Marks & Spencer. The Co-op, Waitrose and Iceland attracted the smallest number of shoppers.