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UK Seasonal Shopping (Spring/Summer) market report

"Whilst retail spending during the Spring/Summer months is typically lower than that of autumn and winter, there are some important events in the calendar that retailers can use to encourage consumer spending. Easter continues to be the largest event, worth an estimated £550 million in 2016. However, the date of the bank holiday weekend often impacts sales and as a result, Mother's Day gift spending equalled that of Easter in 2016."
- Samantha Dover, Retail Analyst

This report examines the following issues:

  • How can retailers encourage greater Father's Day spending?
  • Tapping into the different seasonal buying behaviours of men and women
  • Can retailers leverage other product categories to drive Easter sales?

Overall, despite a slight decline in average spending across the majority of the Spring/Summer events, the market size for all increased. This is the result of greater numbers of consumers buying gift products for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and Father's Day - offsetting the marginal dip in average spend. Easter was the exception to this trend, with a marginal increase in average spending. However, likely due to the timing of the event in 2016, growth in the number of consumers buying gifts was slower than the other three Spring/Summer events.

This Report covers the four major events in the Spring/Summer months: Easter, Mother's and Father's Day and Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day technically falls in the winter season but has been included within this Report because of the timing of our consumer research.

For each of these events we provide an estimated market size along with in-depth consumer research, which focuses on:

  • Which products consumers are purchasing for each of these events.
  • Where consumers are shopping for each of these events.
  • On average how much consumers spend on gifts for these events.
  • What the key drivers are when purchasing gifts for these events.
  • Consumer attitudes and buying behaviour in relation to gift purchasing for these events.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Autumn events grow in size
              • Figure 1: Estimated autumn/winter seasonal events market size (Including VAT), 2015 and 2016
            • Strong sales growth in the latter end of 2016
              • Figure 2: Annual percentage change in all retail sales (excluding fuel) at current prices, non-seasonally adjusted, by month, 2016
            • Black Friday grows in size
              • Companies brands and innovation
                • Asda spends the most advertising on back-to-school
                  • Discounters prioritise low-price uniform
                    • Beauty retailers tap into Halloween make-up trend
                      • The consumer
                        • Parents and Millennials are the biggest buying groups
                          • Figure 3: Spending on Halloween and Bonfire Night, January 2017
                        • Dads outspend mums on seasonal events
                          • Figure 4: Amount spent on products purchased for Halloween and Bonfire Night, January 2017
                        • Sainsbury’s attracts new seasonal shoppers
                          • Figure 5: Retailers purchased from for Halloween and Bonfire Night, January 2017
                        • Store displays and experiences integral to drive purchases
                          • Figure 6: Shopping behaviours when purchasing for Halloween and Bonfire Night, January 2017
                        • Eight in 10 parents purchase for back-to-school
                          • Figure 7: Products purchased for the start of the school term in autumn 2016, January 2017
                        • George at Asda is popular for school uniform
                          • Figure 8: Retailers used for purchasing school uniform and shoes for the start of the autumn 2016 school term, January 2017
                        • Promotional offers drive mums to spend
                          • Figure 9: Factors to encourage purchasing back-to-school items from one retailer over another, January 2017
                        • What we think
                        • Issues and Insights

                          • Marketing to dads
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                                • Opportunities for value growth in back-to-school
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                      • Halloween beauty retail boost
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                            • Autumn events grow in size
                                              • Autumn takes the greatest share of retail sales
                                                • Online penetration peaks in November
                                                  • Advertising spend data reflects retail sales
                                                    • Remarkably strong Christmas 2016
                                                    • Market Size

                                                      • Economic uncertainties are yet to impact consumers’ own finances
                                                        • Growth in back-to-school market
                                                          • Halloween boosts October retail sales
                                                            • Consumers up their spending on Bonfire Night
                                                              • Figure 10: Estimated autumn/winter seasonal events market size (Including VAT), 2015 and 2016
                                                          • Retail Sales across the Year

                                                            • Autumn takes the greatest share of retail sales
                                                              • Figure 11: Value of all retail sales (excluding fuel) at current prices, non-seasonally adjusted, by season, 2016
                                                            • Consumers spent out generously on Christmas
                                                              • Figure 12: Value of all retail sales (excluding fuel) at current prices, non-seasonally adjusted, by month, 2015 and 2016
                                                              • Figure 13: Value of leading category retail sales at current prices, non-seasonally adjusted, by month, 2015 and 2016
                                                            • Growth in retail sales by month
                                                              • Weak August and September
                                                                • October boosted by Halloween
                                                                  • November
                                                                    • Figure 14: Annual percentage change in all retail sales (excluding fuel) at current prices, non-seasonally adjusted, by month, 2016
                                                                    • Figure 15: Annual percentage change in leading category retail sales at current prices, non-seasonally adjusted, by month, 2016
                                                                • Online Retail Sales across the Year

                                                                  • Online penetration peaks in November
                                                                    • Figure 16: Online retail sales as a percentage of all retail sales, monthly, 2015 and 2016
                                                                  • Black Friday pulls online sales forward
                                                                    • Figure 17: Value of all online retail sales at current prices, non-seasonally adjusted, by month, 2015 and 2016
                                                                  • Online sales strengthen in second half
                                                                    • Figure 18: Annual percentage change in all online retail sales at current prices, non-seasonally adjusted, by month, 2016
                                                                  • Clothing lends well to online purchasing
                                                                    • Figure 19: Online retail sales as a percentage of all retail sales, by category, monthly, 2015 and 2016
                                                                • Advertising Spend across the Year

                                                                  • Boost in advertising spend during December
                                                                    • Figure 20: Recorded above-the-line, online display and direct mail total advertising expenditure by all retailers, by month, 2015 and 2016
                                                                    • Figure 21: Recorded above-the-line, online display and direct mail total advertising expenditure by all retailers, monthly as a % of total spending, 2016
                                                                  • Television advertising dominates spend
                                                                    • Figure 22: Recorded above-the-line, online display and direct mail total advertising expenditure by all retailers, by media type, 2016
                                                                  • Retailers decrease reliance on press and direct mail
                                                                    • Figure 23: Recorded above-the-line, online display and direct mail total advertising expenditure by all retailers, by media type, 2014-16
                                                                  • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                  • Black Friday and Christmas

                                                                    • Black Friday grows in size
                                                                      • Christmas beats expectations
                                                                      • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                        • Marks & Spencer boasts the Art of School Uniform
                                                                          • Discounters prioritise low-price uniform
                                                                            • Beauty retailers tap into make-up tutorial phenomenon
                                                                              • Superdrug launches its own Snapchat filter
                                                                                • Asda spends the most advertising back-to-school
                                                                                  • Morrisons invests in Bonfire Night
                                                                                  • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                    • Back-to-school
                                                                                      • Marks & Spencer boasts the ‘Art of School Uniform’
                                                                                        • Discounters prioritise lowest prices
                                                                                          • Halloween
                                                                                            • Lidl launches biggest ever Halloween range
                                                                                              • Beauty retailers tap into make-up tutorial phenomenon
                                                                                                • Superdrug launches its own Snapchat filter
                                                                                                  • Figure 24: Screenshot of Superdrug’s twitter page, showing the Snapchat Black Swan filter, 2016
                                                                                                • Premium beauty retailers offer Halloween makeovers
                                                                                                  • Morrisons hosts pumpkin carving classes in-store
                                                                                                    • Pet products on trend for 2016
                                                                                                      • Figure 25: Pet accessories from Accessorize, October 2016
                                                                                                      • Figure 26: Pet costumes from Pets at Home, October 2016
                                                                                                    • Tesco saves food waste with pumpkin rescue stations
                                                                                                      • Other events
                                                                                                        • Tesco takes part in Diwali
                                                                                                        • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                            • Back-to-school: Sainsbury’s boosts spending
                                                                                                              • Figure 27: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on back-to-school products by leading retailers between June and September, 2014-16
                                                                                                              • Figure 28: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on back-to-school products by leading retailers between June and September, by month, 2014-16
                                                                                                            • Halloween: Lidl ups expenditure on biggest ever range
                                                                                                              • Figure 29: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on Halloween products by leading retailers, 2014-16
                                                                                                            • Bonfire Night: overshadowed by Christmas campaigns
                                                                                                              • Figure 30: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on Bonfire Night products by leading retailers, 2014-16
                                                                                                            • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                              • Parents of 6-12s lead Halloween and Bonfire Night purchasing
                                                                                                                • Young people as likely to buy cosmetics as fancy dress
                                                                                                                  • Dads outspend mums on seasonal events
                                                                                                                    • Sainsbury’s attracts new seasonal shoppers
                                                                                                                      • Weekend events drive an increase in spend
                                                                                                                        • Eight in 10 parents purchase for back-to-school
                                                                                                                          • Increase in spend driven by brand-savvy kids
                                                                                                                            • George at Asda the market leader for school uniform
                                                                                                                              • Promotional offers drive mums to spend
                                                                                                                              • Purchasing for Halloween and Bonfire Night

                                                                                                                                • Halloween takes greater share of purchasing
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Spending on Halloween and Bonfire Night, January 2017
                                                                                                                                • Halloween make-up trend drives cosmetics purchases
                                                                                                                                  • Parents of 6-12s are the biggest buying group
                                                                                                                                    • Six in 10 Millennials purchase for the nostalgic event
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 32: Proportion of consumers purchasing products for Halloween and Bonfire Night in 2015 and 2016, December 2015 and January 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Dads outspend mums on seasonal events
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 33: Amount spent on Halloween products, mothers vs fathers, January 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Spending highest in London
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 34: Amount spent on products purchased for Halloween and Bonfire Night, January 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Opportunity for multiple purchase deals
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 35: Repertoire of products purchased for Halloween and Bonfire Night, January 2017
                                                                                                                                  • Retailers Purchased From – Halloween and Bonfire Night

                                                                                                                                    • Supermarkets attract the majority of spend
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 36: Retailers purchased from for Halloween and Bonfire Night, January 2017
                                                                                                                                    • The ‘Big Four’ – Sainsbury’s wins shoppers
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 37: Halloween and Bonfire Night shoppers at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda, 2015 and 2016, December 2015 and January 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Grocers face little competition from the non-food sector
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 38: Retailers purchased from for Halloween and Bonfire Night, January 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Online-only retailers limited by lack of ‘passing trade’
                                                                                                                                    • Shopping Behaviours – Halloween and Bonfire Night

                                                                                                                                      • Weekend events drive an increase in spend
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 39: Shopping behaviours when purchasing for Halloween and Bonfire Night, January 2017
                                                                                                                                      • Dads up their spending
                                                                                                                                        • Affluent older Millennials the least cautious in their spending
                                                                                                                                          • Store displays and experiences to drive impulse purchases
                                                                                                                                          • Purchasing for Back-to-School

                                                                                                                                            • Eight in 10 parents make a purchase
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 40: Products purchased for the start of the school term in autumn 2016, January 2017
                                                                                                                                            • School uniform purchases driven by price
                                                                                                                                              • Higher school leaving age boosts stationery sales
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 41: Products purchased for the start of the school term in autumn 2016, by age of children, January 2017
                                                                                                                                              • Rising spend on sportswear, bags and stationery
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 42: Amount spent on products purchased for the start of the school term, December 2016 and January 2017
                                                                                                                                            • Where School Uniform is Purchased

                                                                                                                                              • George at Asda the market leader
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 43: Retailers used for purchasing school uniform and shoes for the start of the autumn 2016 school term, January 2017
                                                                                                                                              • Specialist shops number one among affluent parents
                                                                                                                                                • Challenging market for clothing and footwear specialists
                                                                                                                                                • Purchase Drivers for Back-to-School

                                                                                                                                                  • Promotional offers the biggest attraction
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 44: Factors to encourage purchasing back-to-school items from one retailer over another, mothers vs fathers, January 2017
                                                                                                                                                  • Dads seek external recommendations
                                                                                                                                                    • TV adverts more effective than social media and print
                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                        • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                          • Consumer research methodology

                                                                                                                                                          Companies Covered

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