will Christmas be a turkey for retailers?

As the festive season fast approaches, it’s time to dust off our crystal ball and see if we can predict how the wonderful world of retail will play out over the holiday period.

Some reports are suggesting UK shoppers could spend less on Christmas for the first time since 2012, as a fall in real wages and continuing economic uncertainty put a dampener on celebrations.

A survey by credit card provider Visa found that consumer spending shrank by 2% in October, the fastest year-on-year decline in four years and the fifth monthly decline in six months. The survey claimed the fall was driven by a 5% decline in spending on the high street.

Furthermore, some of the big players including John Lewis, Next and Marks & Spencer have all reported gloomy figures in recent weeks, not helped by an unseasonably warm October.

However, the good news is not everyone is predicting a slowdown. A consumer survey by Deloitte suggested that shoppers plan to spend an average of £544 each this Christmas, 1.8% more than last year, and are expected to spend £10.1bn in the week of Black Friday, nearly 4% more than last year as more retailers take part in this event.

Black Friday is now the biggest day in ecommerce in the UK, overtaking Boxing Day, when the traditional sales begin. In total, holiday spending is expected to reach a whopping £79 billion.

And as if that’s not enough retail therapy, Christmas Day itself is tipped to be the busiest shopping day of the year on mobiles. Last year, nearly two-thirds of online purchases made on Christmas Day were carried out using a smartphone.


Technology is expected to be the leading product category this year, accounting for an estimated expenditure of £299 per person, followed by mobile devices, at £251 per consumer. Expect products like the Amazon Echo, Huawei’s Mate10 smartphone and Bose headphones to do particularly well.

Being the optimistic souls we are, based on what we’ve seen so far, at hps Retail7 we’re leaning towards the prospect of a better Christmas than expected for most retailers and brands. 

One thing is for sure, it will be a nail-biting end to the season for many retailers as they try and bank the lion’s share of their annual profits, while battling to protect profit margins against the rise in imported goods on the back of a weaker pound.

Regardless of what happens, we would like to wish all our readers a very happy holiday and a healthy and prosperous 2018. See you on the other side!

For more information about how hps Retail7 can help you win in 2018, please contact Andy Boothroyd on 01628 450738, or email aboothroyd@retail7.co.uk

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Sources: Fung Global Retail Tech, Statista.com, The Guardian



Head of Business Development, Retail7

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