The growth of the online retail sector has resulted in consumers starting their Christmas shopping a lot earlier than in previous years, according to a new study.
Research from the Payments Council suggests that spending on credit and debit cards in November is increasing relative to December - and customers’ growing internet options are partly driving this trend.
The council’s data shows that in 2010 the total amount UK consumers spent with retailers in November was £11.2 billion, or 84 per cent of the £13.3 billion December total. One year before, November’s total spend was just 80 per cent of the £13 billion shelled out in December.
Sandra Quinn, Director of Communications at the Payments Council, explained: “The internet has really changed the way we shop at Christmas, with many of us choosing to shop online to get the best deals and to avoid the shops at the busiest time of year, but you need to start early.
“That’s why there is a distinct shift in spending towards November - this has only been possible with the vast expansion of card usage in the UK.”
Quinn said that the consumer difficulties caused by the poor weather experienced around Christmas last year will result in more people bringing purchases forward during the 2011 festive season.
Her comments echo those of the Managing Director of parcel and carrier service Global Freight Solutions, Neil Cotty, who called for shoppers to make their online purchases early to avoid non-delivery of products.
Many consumers did not receive items they had ordered until after December 25th as retailers cancelled deliveries because roads were either closed or just too dangerous to drive on.
“The problems of dispatching Christmas goods through the heavy December snows last Christmas mean this year, people are likely to get even more organised and get their orders in online early,” Quinn stated.
“Looks like we’re going to have to learn to love those early Christmas adverts.”