Christmas is fast approaching and retailers are preparing for a frenetic shopping season. Retail Week looks at the themes that will dominate this Christmas.
12. Snotty monsters
The best part of Christmas is the toys. All the toy retailers have tipped Xeno the monster to be the big winner this Christmas. Hamleys, Argos and The Entertainer have all predicted Xeno will fly off the shelves this Christmas.
Xeno is a demanding toy that needs his snotty nose wiped by kids and cries if he is ignored. A delight for kids but will no doubt drive parents up the wall.
11. Gamers gaming
In the last few years tablets have proved a cash cow for electricals retailers, but this year sales are expected to slow. The falling demand for tablets will result in unspectacular sales growth of 2.5% for the electricals sector, according to Verdict’s forecasts.
However, this will be offset by price cuts to make the Xbox One and PS4 consoles more affordable. Game will be among the big winners this Christmas as consumers clamour for the cut-price consoles and the games that go with them.
10. Fancy frocks
Metallic numbers and killer cocktail dresses are poised to take centre stage at Christmas parties this year as shoppers splash out on clothes. Verdict predicts that clothing and footwear sales will rise 3.5%.
9. Men panicking
Last Christmas Visa estimated that 15 million shoppers hit the high street on the Monday before Christmas and spent £2.6m per minute.
That trend is expected to continue as shoppers get more accustomed to last-minute shopping as retailers adapt their business models to accommodate panic buyers.
John Lewis boss Andy Street predicts Monday December 22 will be the biggest shopping day overall for the department store group.
Christmas Eve falls on Wednesday this year and the day before Christmas is the biggest day of the year for perfume sales. Staff on the perfume counters will brace themselves for panicked men hitting the stores on December 24 seeking an eleventh hour gift for loved ones.
However, shoppers are also planning their Christmas early this year.
Over half of people polled in an ICM survey for Retail Week believe they will have done their Christmas shopping before December. In fact, 8% said they had already done it by the start of October, a greater percentage than the past three years.
Last year was the year that Black Friday, the discounting event that kick-starts Christmas spending, started to make real waves in the UK. Asda, John Lewis, Currys and Shop Direct all launched special deals and shoppers embraced it.
This year, Black Friday is set to be turbo-charged. Shop Direct revealed this week that it will hold a week-long event while Andy Street believes it will be bigger than last year and retailers across the high street are poised to launch their own deals this year.
Convenience has been one of the biggest trends in retail over the last few years and this Christmas it will come to the fore as never before as shoppers take advantage of services such as click-and-collect.
Street believes a third of online sales will involve click-and-collect this Christmas. His colleague, online boss Mark Lewis said this week that “convenience will be the battleground” on which this Christmas will be fought and has pushed back the cut-off time for next day delivery to 8pm.
Lewis observed: “Customers want their shopping wrapped around their lifestyle, not the other way around.”
5. Queen’s speech avoiders
Christmas Day is once again poised to be as busy a shopping day than the run-up to the big day. All the tablets and smartphones unwrapped on Christmas morning will have shoppers clicking away to grab deals with the Queen’s speech on in the background. Last year 117 million visits to retailer’s websites were made, the total should rise this year.
4. Mobile shoppers
Retailers have heralded a “mobile Christmas” for the past two years, yet still the growth in m-commerce shows no sign of slowing. Shop Direct this week said mobile, which in its most recent quarter outstripped desktop sales, was a key driver of growth this year and this is only going to intensify as time-strapped consumers shop on the go this Christmas.
Street said it would be a “mobile Christmas on steroids” this year and John Lewis is launching a new tranche of apps to benefit from the trend.
Shoppers want to give their loved ones something special and personal to them this Christmas so personalised products should fly off the shelves.
Selfridges has gone big on personalisation. The department store is offering personalised Christmas sacks, coffee mugs and even Nutella jars.
2. German discounters
Kantar figures last Christmas recorded strong growth for Aldi and Lidl, while Sainsbury’s was the only of the big four able to resist pressure from the discounters. However, Sainsbury’s sales have now begun to slide, leaving the field wide open for Aldi and Lidl.
The German discounters are raising the stakes and this Christmas Aldi is attempting to lure customers in with cheap caviar. Although claims it was Beluga caviar have since been debunked and forced Aldi to remove the ‘Beluga’ claim.
1. And a bottle of smelly under the Christmas tree
As ever, perfume and make-up will top Christmas Lists with sales in health and beauty set to rise 3.7% this year, according to Verdict. Debenhams boss Michael Sharp said its prowess in the category will help it emerge as a “destination for gifting” this year.