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Shoppers well into Christmas preparations

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‘twas three months before Christmas that a third of British consumers started their festive shopping this year, a recent survey has found.

New research released yesterday by Shoppercentric, an independent shopper research agency, sought out key influences on the festive spending habits of 1,000 UK shoppers ages 18+, a proportion of which (7%) claim to have done all, or most, of their Christmas shopping already.

This year, high-end department store Selfridges opened its Christmas shop 142 days in advance of the holiday. What seemed like a bold move given the particularly warm weather in early August, may well have made the direct impact it was supposed to. According to the findings by Shoppercentric, two in five shoppers have noticed Christmas displays in-store already and of those who have started their Christmas shopping, 19% were indeed triggered to make a purchase by a display.

Festive visual merchandising and Christmas decorations make the shopping experience more enjoyable for over half of the survey’s participants although 61% are not amused by staff in Christmas hats which supposedly puts a downer on shopping.

The Christmas Shop on Tooley Street, a jolly stone’s throw away from London Bridge, has been open all year round for over 25 years. Retail Gazette spoke to David Thompson, owner of the business, who told us that the duration of schools’ summer holidays (end of July to early September) provides a significant boost to business and that schools’ half-term (in the last week of October) marks the beginning of “serious” Christmas buying.

“Fashions and trends have varied tremendously over the 26 years we have been trading at Hay’s Galleria” explains Thompson. “Glass figures and baubles are resurgent at the moment but the traditional red/gold combination always remains the strongest.”

For Thompson, the most memorable moments revolve around the families of the Christmas enthusiasts who sadly pass away. “It never fails to move us when the relatives come back to see us to tell of how much pleasure the departed had found in our products and of their desire to continue the family Christmas tradition” he adds.

The shop, where it is ‘Christmas everyday’ has a core customer base consisting of those living or working in the area, UK short-break or day trip visitors, international tourists, and the commercial sector.

What this essentially means for retailers is, if you build it, they will come.

65% of shoppers also admitted to being influenced by Christmas TV adverts, which retailers will be showcasing in the coming weeks.

Published on Friday 24 October by Editorial Assistant

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