This Christmas is expected to be the best for retailers since the start of the recession, according to retail consultancy Verdict.
Brits are expected to spend a total of £88.4bn in the fourth quarter, which is 2.2% up on 2013 and represents the strongest growth since pre-recession 2007.
And for the first time since the early 2000s, all the major retail sectors will produce growth. These are some of the forecasts of Verdict’s Christmas 2013 report: ‘How Britain Will Spend’.
Signs of recovery in the housing market will drive consumer confidence and boosts home-related sectors, it predicts. The winners will be department stores and online retailers, particularly Amazon.
In fact Verdict suggests online sales will rise 12% to £11.6bn in the fourth quarter, as more shoppers look to avoid the high street or complete orders at home having browsed in store. This represents 13.2% of all retail spend over the Christmas period.
“Shoppers have greater confidence in online retailing now and are prepared to leave holiday purchases right up until just before Christmas, and this is supported by the rise of click & collect services, which will be much more in evidence this year,” Verdict said.
“Retailers have rushed to develop and market their click & collect services which allow shoppers the convenience of collecting purchases in-store, instead of having to ensure they are at home at the right time.”
Verdict expects that the success of click & collect will encourage shoppers to leave online shopping to the last minute so they can take advantage of bargains and not have to worry about deliveries as they can pick up from stores at any time. “We expect Monday December 23 will become ‘Mad Monday’ – one of the busiest online days as a result,” it said.
The retail consultancy predicts that the key items that shoppers will purchase online this Christmas are tablets, such as the updated Google Nexus 7, the Tesco Hudl and the expected update to Apple’s iPad; and the forthcoming Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4.