Shoppers are turning online for their Christmas gift buying this year to escape the stress of long queues, big crowds and repetitive in-store Christmas music, according to new research.
The Christmas Trends Report, commissioned by Webloyalty and carried out by retail research agency Conlumino suggests that the biggest bugbear is crowds (66%), followed by long queues (62%). In addition, just over half (52%) will turn to online shopping to avoid in-store stock shortages and a third (34%) to escape the headache of repetitive Christmas songs. Rude or unhelpful staff and overheated stores also featured on the list of top Christmas irritations when shopping on the high street.
So it comes as no surprise that only 15% of consumers are expected to brave the high street for all their Christmas gift shopping this year. Instead, a fifth (19%) of consumers plan to exclusively shop for gifts online this Christmas and two thirds (66%) will buy at least one present online.
E-commerce continues to attract consumer spend this Christmas as shoppers opt for convenience in all aspects of their gift buying. The report found that more than a quarter of shoppers (26%) plan to forego buying physical gifts altogether this year in favour of digital presents, such as subscriptions for movie or music streaming services, or e-gift cards for e-books or apps.
But the desire for expediency may backfire this year on the present givers – 55% of people think receiving a digital gift on Christmas Day is 'less fun' than unwrapping a physical present, and nearly a quarter (24%) consider them the 'lazy' option.
The research project from Webloyalty, now in its third year, asked more than 2,000 consumers about their shopping expectations and habits, providing retailers with insight into the Christmas and holiday trading period. The results suggest that it isn't just online gift shopping that is on the rise - consumers are also becoming increasingly in favour of online Christmas food shopping.
The proportion of people set to shop online for Christmas groceries this year has risen by 24.6% - 10.4% plan to buy all their groceries online and 33.6% are likely to buy some online, up from 9.8% and 25.5% respectively last year.
Guy Chiswick, Managing Director of Webloyalty, Northern Europe commented: "This preference for online shopping is a trend we have seen accelerate throughout 2016. It is vital for retailers this Christmas that they take notice of the consumer inclination to shop for Christmas gifts from the comfort of their own homes through smartphones and tablets. Those that have a robust omnichannel strategy in place, with a real focus on features such as a user-friendly mobile experience and quick delivery, will stand out as retail winners this Christmas."