Christmas — a time for family, friends, merriment… and mass consumerism. The only single day of the year than commands more combined public expenditure than any other the world over. People save year round to cover the costs, they max out credit cards, and some even take out loans.
No surprise then, that this one day can be the make or break of the retailer. Whether online, in-store or both, understanding the consumer behaviour that surrounds the festive season is fundamental to retail success, and a healthy bottom line going into the New Year.
FlexMR ran a post-Christmas 2016 research project exploring the attitudes, behaviours and values of the Christmas consumer. The report looks at what each generation and gender actually did, any marked differences between behaviours, behavioural motivations and their implications for Christmas 2017.
Here is a selection of our most interesting findings.
1. Gen Z and the Gift of Digital Independence
They grew up with a digital gadget in their hand but it wasn’t theirs. This Christmas 37% of presents bought for the Under 18s were their own digital devices.
2. The In-Store Shopping Channel Lives On
Far from dead, 73% of consumers purchased at least one Christmas 2016 gift in-store. It is in the shadows of the online shopping channel however, with 81% of consumers purchasing at least one gift online.
3. Convenience, Convenience, Convenience!
By far and away the number one motivation for shopping channel choice during the 2016 festivities. 80% of UK consumers shopped online for convenience, 88% shopped in-store for convenience.
4. The Male Niche
Men who leave their Christmas shopping later spend more money. The majority of men leave their Christmas shopping until December (63%)… no great surprise there but of these last minute shoppers 30% spent £500 + on gifts.
5. The Mobile Minimum
Mobile app purchases are certainly on the rise but their value at Christmas was minimal. 44% of mobile app shoppers spent less than £50 of their total Christmas gift outlay via this shopping channel.
6. The Millennial Paradox
Millennials save to cover the cost of Christmas but they’re always looking to make their money go further. 62% of Millennials sought out vouchers or coupons to reduce the cost of gift buying in 2016.
7. Wishing You… Cyber Safety
Despite increasing cyber safety issues the Christmas consumer of 2016 would not be separated from their digital wallets. Only 7% of consumers were put off online gift shopping by security concerns.
8. A Kinaesthetic Christmas
62% of all consumers were put off online shopping for Christmas gifts by the inability to interact with them prior to purchase. This represents the biggest downfall of the online shopping channel during Christmas 2016.
9. The Digital Divide
Across every single digital device male usage trumped that of female on Christmas Day 2016 and during Christmas Dinner specifically. 67% of men used at least one digital device whilst tucking into their turkey.
10. The Golden (Not So) Oldies
Not exactly old but certainly retail Christmas gold, 25% of Gen X and the Baby Boomers spent £500 + on Christmas 2016 gifts verses only 12% of their younger Millennial counterparts.
A Merry Christmas 2017
Christmas consumer shopping habits are distinct from any other time of the year. This one-day event brings with it many unique circumstances and dare we say it, pressures that are not present during any other period. As technology develops, the socioeconomic world evolves and the generations move though the life cycles, their values, motivations and behaviour at Christmas changes. Retailers who maintain an ongoing understanding of the Christmas consumer are poised to win the festive business of 2017 and for many years to come.