Retail sales are set to grow 3.5% to £40.3bn this Christmas with convenient online delivery options likely to be key in determining where the bulk of shopping is spent.
Research from Deloitte shows that online retail sales are expected to surge 19% to hit £5bn over the festive period.
The UK is bracing itself for Cyber Monday – the busiest online shopping day of the year – which is expected to happen on December 2 this year.
Deloitte UK head of retail Ian Geddes said: “Shoppers are expected to loosen purse strings off the back of rising consumer confidence and improving economic conditions. Flexible delivery could be this year’s battlefield.
“After last year’s click-and-collect Christmas, consumers’ expectations around flexible delivery over the coming festive period are higher than ever before. Store collection is now seen as a basic offering and those retailers without this capability will struggle to convert online sales and lose resulting footfall in-store.”
Deloitte estimates 20,000 click-and-collect points will be in place across the UK by Christmas to support the online growth. Retailers have been innovating with click-and-collect in recent weeks as Selfridges opened its drive thru click-and-collect point at Oxford Street this month, while today Asda launched its service enabling customers to collect groceries from six London tube stations.
Data from Deloitte found that 47% of UK consumers think empty high street stores would make convenient collection points to pick up online orders.
Deloitte believes homewares retailers and department stores will perform strongly at Christmas if the cold snap continues, as customers seek to shop under cover in the warmth.
Grocers are expected to remain competitive on prices and electrical retailers will be pinning their hopes on new tablets and games consoles to lift numbers, Deloitte said.
Digital marketing technology firm RedEye has revealed that British shoppers are more likely to spend in pre-Christmas sales than the traditional January sales, spending £174 each on the lead up to Christmas.