2022
9
UK Christmas Gift Buying Market Report 2022
2022-02-23T03:18:00+00:00
OX1100801
2195
148186
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Report
en_GB
“Christmas 2021 was not the uninterrupted event that many had hoped for, but there was a clear sense of making the best of it from consumers. The retail sector experienced…

UK Christmas Gift Buying Market Report 2022

£ 2,195 (Excl.Tax)

Description

The UK Christmas Gift Buying report identifies consumer attitudes towards Christmas shopping, Christmas gifting, retail sales, and key trends and online channels in the UK. This market report covers the market size, market forecast, market segmentation and industry trends for the Gift Buyers market for Christmas in the UK.

Current Market Landscape

There was much excitement in the lead up to the event that a more normal festive period could be achieved. In reality, Omicron significantly disrupted plans.

  • 64% of gift buyers said it was important to have a good Christmas in 2021 after the events of the past few years.
  • 53% of gift buyers saying that COVID-19 concerns meant they did not shop in-store as much as they would have like to.
  • 23% of gift buyers said they struggled to buy gifts due to stock shortages.

In truth, the build up to the event was full of uncertainties, with global supply issues a significant concern for retailers and consumers alike. These issues placed a key role in pushing up inflation, and retail price rises combined with rising costs in other areas.

Future Market Trends in Christmas Gift Buying

The rising cost of living and pressure on household finances threatens to overshadow the 2022 event. The worst of the inflationary pressures currently being felt on goods may have passed through the system by Q4 2022, but interest rate rises, rising household costs, and the rise in NI will continue to put pressure on the willingness to spend. Value will be critical and we may see many trading down or reining in gift spend in comparison to 2021, so retailers will need to bolster value ranges and options.

However, festive spending also often bucks the trend experienced through the preceding year and which macro-economic factors would point to. Indeed, the record retail demand seen in November and December 2021, up 8.4% on 2019 levels, highlights this, as does the fifth of gift buyers who say you can spend big on Christmas and worry about the cost the next year. Value will be critical but there will be opportunity, particularly if we achieve the undisrupted Christmas that many have been hoping for since the pandemic began.

Read on to discover more details or take a look at all of our UK Retail market research.

Quickly understand

  • The impact that COVID-19, inflation and supply chain issues had on Christmas shopping habits and retail sales in 2021.
  • Black Friday and the performance of the online channel.
  • Retail sales performance by major category and by leading retailers who have reported results for the festive period.
  • Key trends and innovations during Christmas 2021.
  • Who gifts were given to during Christmas 2021 and how they were given.
  • What gifts were purchased and how much on average was spent on gifts.
  • When gifts were purchased and in which month the most was spent.

Covered in this report

Products: Clothing, beauty and personal care products, books, food and drink, toys and games, cash, gift cards and vouchers, jewellery or watches, video games, footwear, entertainment products, small electrical appliance, computers, tablets, smartphones, game consoles, tv or audio devices, experiences, digital content.

Brands: Amazon, John Lewis, Currys PC World, Boots, H&M, Asda, Argos, Tesco, Next, Superdrug, eBay, JD Sports, ASOS, Sports Direct, Sainsbury’s, Co-Op, Primark, Selfridges, Very/Littlewoods, AO.com, ProCook, Dunelm, Bensons for Beds, Topps Tiles, Wickes, Fragrance Shop, The Hut Group, Gear4Music, Pets at Home, Halfords, Harrods, Hurr Collective, Hamleys, The Body Shop, PrettyLittleThing.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Nick Carroll, a leading analyst in the Retail sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Christmas 2021 was not the uninterrupted event that many had hoped for, but there was a clear sense of making the best of it from consumers. The retail sector experienced a record level of demand, beating the levels seen pre-pandemic in 2019, although rising inflation played its part in boosting value sales. Online played an inflated role but there was also a clear return to stores for many, a return which would have been stronger had Omicron not emerged, a positive for store-based retailers as we begin to look toward Christmas 2022.

Nick Carroll - Research AnalystNick Carroll
Associate Director of Retail and Ecommerce

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • COVID-19: market context
    • Economic and other assumptions
    • Products covered in this Report
  2. Executive Summary

    • The five-year outlook for Christmas gift buying
      • Figure 1: Category outlook, 2022-27
    • The market
    • Financial wellbeing and confidence slip in the build up to Christmas 2021…
      • Figure 2: Household financial wellbeing index, 2016-2022
    • …with inflation a key factor in this
      • Figure 3: Inflation, core retail categories, 2017-21
    • Even excluding Omicron and inflation it would have been a difficult period…
      • Figure 4: Financial confidence tracker, confirmed spending in the last three months, 2019-21
    • Despite the pressures, retail demand holds up well
      • Figure 5: All retail sales (excluding fuel) growth in December, in value and volume, non-seasonally adjusted, 2017-21
    • Non-food stores see significant uptick against 2020
      • Figure 6: November and December combined retail sales growth by major categories, in value and volume, non-seasonally adjusted, 2021
    • Online moves into decline, but continues to account for an inflated level of spending
      • Figure 7: Q4 online retail sales growth, non-seasonally adjusted, and online as a % of all retail sales, 2019-2021
    • Stores reclaim a majority of non-food demand
      • Figure 8: Estimated share of total non-food sales, store versus online and other non-store, 2019-2021
    • Record numbers buy into Black Friday
      • Figure 9: Black Friday 2021 behaviours, 2021
    • The consumer
    • Nine-in-ten gave Christmas gifts in 2021
      • Figure 9: Who Christmas gifts were given to, 2021
    • Fashion remains the most popular gifting category
      • Figure 10: Products given as gifts for Christmas, 2019-21
    • Average spending on gifts hits a new high
      • Figure 11: Average spent on Christmas gifts, by household income, 2019-21
    • In-store shopping recovers, but there could be more to come in 2022
      • Figure 12: How Christmas gifts were purchased, 2019-21
    • Earlier purchasing trend from 2020 sticks in 2021…
      • Figure 13: When Christmas gift buying started, 2019-21
    • …although uncertainty around whether Christmas gatherings would happen led some to leave it late
      • Figure 14: Christmas 2021 gifting behaviours, 2021
    • Rise in cost of living will increase the focus on value in 2022
      • Figure 15: Attitudes towards Christmas 2021, 2021
  3. Issues and Insights

    • Christmas 2021: A better but still very different period
    • What to expect in 2022: Inflation, household squeeze and changed behaviour
  4. Market Drivers

    • Retail demand remains strong in 2021
      • Figure 16: Retail sales growth, non-seasonally adjusted, by major category, 2020-21
    • Economic recovery and better than expected employment has held to sustain demand
    • Consumers’ financial wellbeing has slipped from its recent high point…
      • Figure 17: Household financial wellbeing index, 2016-2022
    • …and concerns over inflation are coming to the fore
      • Figure 19: Concerns regarding price rises, 2021
      • Figure 18: Inflation, core retail categories, 2017-2021
    • Retail had much greater competition for spending in 2021
      • Figure 19: Financial confidence tracker, confirmed spending in the last three months, 2019-21
    • Even prior to Omicron, consumers were planning to limit time in crowded areas pre-Christmas Day
      • Figure 20: Pre-Christmas attitudes, 2021
    • Summary of key economic data, 2020-26
      • Figure 21: Key economic data, 2020-26
  5. Retail Sales Performance

    • Retail demand recovers strongly in 2021
      • Figure 22: All retail sales (excluding fuel) growth in December, in value and volume, non-seasonally adjusted, 2017-21
    • The picture remains positive when we include November
      • Figure 23: November and December combined retail sales growth, in value and volume, non-seasonally adjusted, 2017-21
    • Store-based demand returns strongly, but the pandemic was still a factor
      • Figure 24: November and December combined retail sales growth by major categories, in value and volume, non-seasonally adjusted, 2021
    • Spending continues to slip out of December
      • Figure 25: Final quarter months as a % of all non-food retail sales (by volume) in the final quarter, 2019-21
  6. Online

    • Online sales decline in final quarter, but role remains inflated
      • Figure 27: Q4 online retail sales growth, non-seasonally adjusted, and online as a % of all retail sales, 2019-20
    • Store-based players continue to take the lion’s share of the market
      • Figure 27: All online retail sales, split by broad of type of retailer, 2018-21
    • Online grocery demand eases a little, but penetration remains around 10%
      • Figure 28: Store-based online grocery sales growth, non-seasonally adjusted, and as a % of all grocery sales, 2020-21
    • Stores reclaim a majority of non-food spending
      • Figure 29: Estimated share of total non-food sales, store versus online and other non-store, 2019-21
  7. Black Friday

    • A shift back to stores in November 2021
      • Figure 30: Percentage of annual retail sales accounted for by November, volume, 2000-21
      • Figure 30: November and November and December, value retail sales growth, non-seasonally adjusted, 2019-21
    • Stores reclaim some Black Friday demand, but the event remains predominately ‘online-first’
      • Figure 32: Black Friday Purchasing, 2019-21
    • 44% of consumers made a purchase during Black Friday 2021
      • Figure 33: Total Black Friday Purchasing, by household income, 2019-21
    • Fashion the most popular Black Friday purchase
      • Figure 34: Products purchased during Black Friday, 2019-2021
    • Store-based retailers see a boost due to lack of restrictions
      • Figure 35: Retailers shopped with during Black Friday, 2020-21
    • Over two-thirds of Black Friday shoppers purchased Christmas gifts
      • Figure 36: Black Friday 2021 behaviours, 2021
  8. Retailer Christmas Performance

    • Retail sales performance by sector
      • Figure 14: Retail sales by sector, year-on-year non-seasonally adjusted value growth, November/December and 2021 overall
    • Reported retailers’ results
    • Grocers: strong premium results as customers look to make Christmas special
      • Figure 39: Grocery: sector and reported retailer sales, Christmas 2021
    • Fashion: footfall returns, although Omicron dampens the party
      • Figure 40: Clothing and footwear: sector and reported retailer sales, Christmas 2021
    • Mixed goods: struggled to annualise 2020 peak
      • Figure 41: Mixed goods: sector and reported retailer sales, Christmas 2021
    • Household goods:
      • Figure 42: Household goods: sector and reported retailer sales, Christmas 2021
    • Miscellaneous specialists
      • Figure 43: Miscellaneous specialists reported retailer sales, Christmas 2021
  9. Trends and Innovations for Christmas 2021

    • Immersive and exclusive pop-ups help attract footfall into stores
    • Aldi’s champagne pop-up
      • Figure 30: Aldi’s champagne pop-up bar, 2021
    • Harrods hosts exclusive pop-up with skate brand Palace
    • Hurr Collective launches pop-up for one-night-only rentals
      • Figure 31: Hurr Collective’s one-night-only outfit rentals, 2021
    • Hamleys launches festive pop-up and announces new Westfield store
    • Retailers tap into Christmas shoppers’ ethical consciences
    • Co-op to removes all plastic from its Christmas gifting range
      • Figure 32: Co-op’s plastic-free Christmas range, 2021
    • Primark’s brown paper shopping bags get a festive makeover
    • Selfridges launches second-hand toy shop ahead of Christmas
      • Figure 33: Selfridges The Toy Project collaboration, 2021
    • PrettyLittleThing launches gender-inclusive Christmas collection
    • The Body Shop reminds people to give back during Christmas
      • Figure 34: The Body Shop’s Christmas bulletin board, 2021
    • Rapid delivery services help ensure shoppers enjoy a stress-free Christmas
    • Superdrug launches super-fast two-hour delivery service
    • Shoe Zone rolls out next-day delivery service for £1.99 ahead of Christmas
    • Morrisons launches new collection service for Christmas
  10. Advertising and Marketing Activity

    • Advertising spend recovers in 2021
      • Figure 35: Recorded above-the-line, online display and direct mail total and annual change in spending by retailers on advertising during Q4, 2016-21
    • Amazon remains top spender
    • Tesco Christmas advert sparks controversy
    • Sainsbury’s nearly doubles advertising expenditure in 2021
      • Figure 36: Leading retailers’ spending on recorded above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising, October-December 2021
    • 35% of advertising spend in 2021 took place in Q4
      • Figure 37: Leading retailers’ spending on recorded above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising, Q1-3 and Q4 split, 2021
    • TV captures 46.9% of advertising
      • Figure 38: Recorded above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising spend by retailers, by media type, Q4 2021
    • Supermarket retailers lead above-the line advertising
      • Figure 39: Recorded above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising spend by retailers, by advertiser type, Q4 2021
    • Key Christmas campaigns
    • Amazon spotlights the power of kindness
    • M&S gives Percy the Pig his first Christmas
      • Figure 40: M&S Percy Pig Christmas advert, 2021
    • John Lewis Christmas advert
    • Boohoo unveils Debenhams.com’s first Christmas advert
      • Figure 41: Debenhams’ first Christmas advert with new owner Boohoo, 2021
    • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
  11. Who Gifts Were Given To

    • Nine-in-ten UK consumers gave Christmas gifts in 2021
      • Figure 42: Who Christmas gifts were given to, 2021
      • Figure 43: Repertoire of recipients gifts given to, 2020 and 2021
    • Greater socialising created more gift buying for some, but pressure was on to keep costs down
      • Figure 44: Attitudes to gift giving, socialising and Secret Santa, 2021
  12. Gifts Given in 2021

    • Fashion still leads as the most popular gifting category
      • Figure 45: Products given as gifts for Christmas, 2019-21
    • Gender bias in gifting categories will continue to break down
      • Figure 46: Products given as gifts for Christmas, 2021
    • Repertoire of categories bought into creeps back up
      • Figure 47: Repertoire of gifting categories purchased from, 2019-21
  13. How Much Was Spent

    • Average spent on gifts grows by 9.6% in 2021
      • Figure 48: Changes in Christmas gift spending, 2021
    • While financial pressure has built, many were willing to put this aside for celebrations…
      • Figure 49: Financial position, spending and credit use during Christmas 2021, by household income, 2021
    • Average spending creeps regardless of household income
      • Figure 50: Average spent on Christmas gifts, by household income, 2019-21
    • Greatest increase in spending among those aged 35-44 as families look to make 2021 better than 2020
      • Figure 51: Average spent on Christmas gifts, by parental status, 2019-21
    • Spending in London bounces back following Tier 4 restrictions in 2020
      • Figure 52: Average spent on Christmas gifts, by region lived in, 2019-21
  14. How Gifts Were Purchased

    • Store-based purchasing recovers significant ground in 2021
      • Figure 53: How Christmas gifts were purchased, 2019-21
      • Figure 54: How Christmas gifts were purchased, by age, 2019-21
    • Younger consumers held greater hesitancy about store-based shopping
      • Figure 55: Attitude toward in-store shopping and COVID-19, 2021
  15. When Gifts Were Purchased

    • Earlier purchasing trends from 2020 stick in 2021…
      • Figure 56: When Christmas gift buying started, 2019-21
      • Figure 57: When Christmas gift buying started, 2021
    • …however, uncertainty around plans also lead to some leaving it later
      • Figure 58: Impact of uncertainty around celebrations and stock shortages on Christmas gift purchasing, by age, 2021
    • December still claims the largest share of gift spending…
      • Figure 59: When the most is spent on gifts, 2019-21
    • …but targeting early shoppers has significant benefits
      • Figure 60: Average spent on Christmas gifts, by when they started Christmas gift shopping, 2019-2021
  16. Attitudes to Gift Buying in 2021

    • There was a desire to make Christmas 2021 special
      • Figure 61: Attitudes towards Christmas celebrations, 2021
    • With pressure mounting, shoppers relied on promotions and deferred payments
      • Figure 62: Attitudes to promotions and spending for Christmas 2021, 2021
    • Sustainability issues still at the forefront of customer thoughts
      • Figure 63: Attitudes to waste in Christmas gift giving, 2021
  17. Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

    • Data sources
    • VAT
    • Abbreviations
    • Consumer research methodology

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