Shoppers become more savvy as 42pc cut Christmas spending

Shoppers in Briggate, Leeds on Black Friday. Picture Tony Johnson
Shoppers in Briggate, Leeds on Black Friday. Picture Tony Johnson
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The ongoing uncertainty of Brexit and the rising cost of food due to the weak pound are leading shoppers to spend less this Christmas, according to new research.

Almost half of shoppers polled said they are trying to save money wherever they can during the festive season this year.

The survey, commissioned by www.myvouchercodes.co.uk, found that more than half (55 per cent) of people had not changed their spending, while 42 per cent admitted that they were trying to save money.

The most popular reasons for those who stated they were trying to save money were because they were buying less to offset price increases, they were waiting for sales and they were spending less because of the ongoing uncertainty of the Brexit with regards to job security and wages.

Over half (56 per cent) of those polled said that they were relying on their wages to pay for Christmas, while 30 per cent admitted that they would be using credit cards.

A further 10 per cent said they would be dipping into their overdraft, while three per cent were borrowing from friends or family and one per cent were looking at getting a loan to pay for the festive period.

More than a fifth (27 per cent) of those polled admitted that they leave their Christmas shopping to the last minute, with 15 per cent of those panic buying just a couple days before Christmas.

Chris Reilly, general manager of My Voucher Codes, said: “Christmas is an expensive time of year especially for young families, so it makes sense that a large proportion of society are trying to send less.

“There are many ways of saving money at this time of year, from buying early to taking advantage of store sales and vouchers.”

He added: “Worryingly from the results of the study it still looks like many people will go into debt during the festive period, this obviously isn’t ideal and puts the pressure on in January as they look to pay off their debts.

“On the other hand it seems like we are starting to see a shift in society as people realise that they don’t have to spend a fortune to have a great Christmas.”

Retail expert Kate Hardcastle, founder of Leeds-based business consultancy Insight With Passion, said: “It’s not just a case of consumers feeling the pinch. They are much savvier now and are looking for even more value out of the things they buy.

“Discounts that appeared during the recession have remained. If you are anything other than a discount retailer you are finding it very hard. Retailers are working harder than ever and know what is ahead - an even more informed consumer who is even more savvy and discount-friendly.”

She added: “At some point the retailer is going to pass on cost increases and the consumer isn’t going to like it because they have had years of discounted prices.”

According to consumer group Which? shoppers pursuing the best Christmas deals are realising the best way to do this is online and over a period of time to track frequently changing prices.

The chaotic scenes witnessed on Black Friday two years ago where brawls broke out over cut-price televisions were not matched at the shops yesterday as analysts warned the event, which the UK has adopted from the US,

may be losing its urgent appeal, evolving instead into a longer buying process in the run-up to Christmas.

This latest survey follows a recent study from Vouchercodes.co.uk parent RetailMeNot and the Centre for Retail Research which found that the average UK home will splash out £809.97 this Christmas, up 1.9 per cent year-on-year. Across Europe, the average spend is expected to be £540.32 with the UK spending the most and Spain spending the least.