Quarter of consumers ‘have started Christmas shopping’ amid supply chain issues

More than a quarter of UK consumers have already started their Christmas shopping and 45% plan to avoid major online retailers this year as the pandemic and supply chain issues affect shopping behaviour, a survey suggests.

Some 48% of consumers aim to buy fewer but bigger, more considerate gifts this year, with just over half (51%) having more savings set aside as a result of decreased spending over the past year, according to the Holiday Shopping Trends 2021 report for digital experience platform Sitecore.

The poll found 48% are planning to start Christmas shopping by October and 28% have already started.

Retailers ranging from toy chains to supermarkets have warned that supply chain issues, largely due to a shortage of lorry drivers, could affect stock levels this Christmas.

In an apparent move away from the reliance on online shopping due to the pandemic last Christmas, 31% said they would find gifts by window shopping on the high street, 23% plan to visit small independent retailers and 21% want to attend local Christmas markets.

The survey found 45% of consumers plan to avoid big online retailers and 43% agreed they would “feel lazy” if they resorted to purely online shopping.

However 59% said they are most likely to buy from Amazon at the last minute.

Sitecore chief marketing officer Paige O’Neill said: “Brands and retailers will undoubtedly face supply chain disruption this year for reasons out of their control, which unfortunately could mean frustrated customers, negative reviews and a tarnished reputation.

“The brands and retailers that will win this Christmas will be those that match the levels of service and speed of online, manage their supply chain risk well, and create exciting personalised in-person shopping experiences, demonstrating the values that set them apart.

“We know that brands and retailers are hoping for a bumper festive season to make up for last year. But the only way they will achieve this is by listening to customers.

“To see success this Christmas brands must tap into customer data to understand how shoppers want to shop, and what they want to buy, to help them find the gifts they are looking for.”

Advanis surveyed 1,000 UK consumers and 400 marketers in June.