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Christmas comes early as consumers loosen the purse strings and revert to pre-pandemic shopping habits

Brits will be hitting the high streets and online shops in preparation for Christmas earlier this festive season – and around one-in-five people (19%) say they plan to spend more on gifts compared to last year – as relaxing of restrictions makes way for consumer confidence.

As thousands of shoppers across the country plan to be less cautious with their cash, new research shows that people will rely heavily on news, reviews and recommendations to help them with their decision making when buying gifts.

The findings are revealed as part of new shopper insights exploring year-on-year buying habits of consumer technology devices in the build up to Christmas, led by PR specialists Kaizo. The investigation, which surveyed more than 1,000 people across the UK, found that this year only a third (33%) of Brits plan to spend less on Christmas gifts, compared to an overwhelming 86% of people last year.

What’s more, this time last year more than a quarter of UK shoppers (26%) said they were far too concerned about the global pandemic to be thinking about Christmas shopping. Today only 6% of people feel this way.

Additionally, the findings suggest brands should be prioritising their Christmas promotional activity throughout the last quarter of 2021 – and sooner than key shopping dates such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday or December’s Christmas shopping period. Last year 78% of consumers said they were waiting until at least the beginning of December to start their Christmas shopping, with less than half of this number planning to wait until the same time period this year.

Spending time researching gifts to buy, specifically consumer electronics and gadgets, will be key for more than one-in-five shoppers (21%), as more than half (58%) admit they trust reviews they read on a news website, in a newspaper, a magazine, or in lifestyle media. In fact, around one quarter (24%) say that a reading positive review is an essential part of their decision making when purchasing Christmas gifts – and 29% say they value an endorsement on a TV programme.

Rhodri Harries, Managing Director of Kaizo, said:

“We know all too well of the challenges created by the pandemic, especially this time last year and last Christmas. As people prepare for this year’s festive season, and are tapping in to both mainstream and social media as part of this, there are clear opportunities for brands and businesses to raise their profiles and position their products as ‘must haves’ this year.

“The increase in shoppers’ confidence certainly reflects the positive direction we’re moving in, and this is absolutely reassuring to see. For brands and businesses that rely on Christmas sales, there is a real need to move at the same trajectory, and understand the options available about how and where valuable media and social exposure can benefit them this Christmas.”

Social media and influencers continue to play a key role in impacting decision making, especially for young shoppers across the UK. 34% of shoppers aged 21 to 34 admit to trusting recommendations made by influencers or celebrities on Instagram, where as a staggering 45% value endorsements made on TikTok or YouTube.

In terms of what is important to shoppers when buying a product, 65% said that value for money will be a key driver when purchasing gifts this Christmas. This was followed by overall quality and durability (45%) and total cost (40%). More than a quarter (26%) value buying their gifts from a reputable retailer, while the same amount said the same for buying a highly regarded brand.

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