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Brits plan to spend less this Christmas, with sale scepticism rife

 Ve Global has published the findings of new research revealing what consumers think makes a good deal, as well as consumer spending plans and habits for the Golden Quarter.

The research, which surveyed over 2,000 British consumers, signals a challenging sales period for retailers, with over two fifths (42%) saying they plan to spend less on Christmas this year. While almost half (48%) say their Christmas spend planning is already underway, the research highlights a need for retailers to rethink how they serve customers, with sales scepticism rife. Seven in 10 (73%) said they believe retailers bump up original prices to make discounted prices look more appealing, indicating that sale events could be doing more harm than good for brands and their customer relationships.

The findings reinforce the importance of the brand experience during sales periods. Almost half (48%) of consumers say they plan to browse or buy only from the brands they know and trust during the Golden Quarter. When asked what makes a good deal almost three quarters (73%) of consumers said value for money, followed by quality (62%), price (58%) and customer service (23%), indicating that consumers aren’t merely interested in the lowest price, but good quality products and experiences in return. 

Consumers are more likely to think the best deals are found online (44%), in comparison to in-store (14%), though 35% felt there is no difference. When specifically asked about Christmas, more than half (51%) of consumers said they plan to do their shopping online instead of at the shops this year

Jack Wearne, CEO at Ve Global: “In the current climate of economic uncertainty and scepticism towards sales, getting consumers to part with their cash this year won’t be as easy. Consumers plan to browse or buy from the brands they trust and have good experiences with. So retailers shouldn’t see it as a mere price war, but an opportunity to really connect with the customer. Though many brands have built up trust and good customer experience in-store, this is under threat with the shift to online. And with the data showing that many consumers plan to do their Christmas shopping online, online retailers must learn how to build trust and deliver the great experiences that are associated with brick-and-mortar stores.”

Young shoppers set to embrace the sales

Younger shoppers are most likely to enjoy the sales and intend to buy during the Golden Quarter, a trend which notably drops by generation. More than half (51%) of 18-24 year olds said they intend to make purchases during Black Friday this year, compared to only a third (32%) of consumers on average. While 56% of consumers said they generally enjoy shopping in the sales, this rises notably for those aged 18-24 (68%), 25-34 (69%) and 35-44 (67%). 

Consumers admitted they browse the sales even if there isn’t anything in particular they want, which rises again significantly from 68% on average to 77% for 18-24 year olds. Almost half (48%) of 18-24 year olds also said they are likely to buy a sale item they see even if they don’t really need it, compared to only 28% of consumers on average. 

Discover more about how brands can effectively take advantage of the ecommerce Golden Quarter in 2021 here.