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Savvy spending, sustainability and eyes on supply – Yahoo research reveals what marketers can expect from UK shoppers this Christmas


London, 3 November 2021: Following a recent survey of over 2,000 UK consumers, global media and technology company Yahoo, has today unveiled the key trends brands and marketers need to be aware of for the upcoming festive period.

“From supply chain disruption, sustainability issues and financial strains, this year’s survey has revealed some key concerns amongst UK shoppers in the lead up to the festive season” said Josh Partridge, Managing Director & VP UK and Co-Head of EMEA at Yahoo. “As we approach one of the busiest shopping periods of the year, it’s therefore critical for marketers and brands to reflect on how they can respond to these anxieties through their own campaigns and strategies. Those that do will help to facilitate a more effective and joined up shopper experience for consumers, customers and brands alike – helping to build not only shopper confidence, but loyalty in the long term. While the survey did reveal some anxieties, it also highlighted clear excitement amongst consumers to return to Christmas shopping this year, both online and in-store, presenting a fantastic opportunity for brands and marketers in the weeks and months to come.”

  1. Consumers are concerned about supply chain shortages: instil confidence by kickstarting Christmas marketing earlier than usual

Supply chain disruptions and shortages that have occurred over recent months will continue to impact how consumers shop in the run up to 25th December. Yahoo has revealed that nearly half of consumers are concerned about potential shortages this Christmas (46%), rising to 50% of 16-34s.

As a result, 63% of consumers plan on starting Christmas gift shopping pre-December, a number which is even higher amongst females (72%) and 45-54 year olds (70%).

  1. Consumers are more financially conscious: allow flexible payments through services such as Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)

As a lasting effect of the pandemic, shoppers have increased financial concerns this year, with 16% of those surveyed saying that they will spend less. This trend is also significantly higher amongst females (19%) and 24-44s (22%).

In light of this, consumers are looking to save money wherever possible and 21% will be shopping for Christmas presents on Black Friday to help cut down spending.

These worries have also led to an increase of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services. Over 1 in 4 have used a BNPL service (26%) and 39% of these will use BNPL for Christmas shopping – with 60% of users saying that BNPL services “helps spread the costs of items across a longer period of time”.

  1. Sustainability is front of mind: marketing campaigns should authentically reflect a brand’s CSR credentials

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When shopping in-store, a large proportion of UK consumers (69%) still plan to do so at their local high street, with 56% doing so to support local businesses and 55% saying they are more likely nowadays to buy foods and goods which have been locally produced. 56% say a key benefit of in-store shopping is to support local businesses.

Yahoo also revealed consumer sentiment towards online shopping and sustainability, with 79% being conscious of the increased packaging waste involved in online shopping, driving them in-store.

  1. Consumers are looking for hybrid shopping experiences: create seamless online journeys, while also providing immersive in-store experiences 

When asked how consumers expect to do their Christmas gift shopping this year, 41% said an ‘equal mix of online and in-store shopping’. This is up from 27% from last year, when half of people also said they would ‘mainly shop online.’ Within this hybrid approach, convenience and flexibility is driving e-commerce, while experience-led motivations are driving physical store visits. This is particularly the case for Gen Z, who are nearly twice as likely to treat a shopping trip as a ‘social experience’.

When it comes to shopping in-store, 46% say that this gets them in the festive spirit, which is even higher amongst Gen Z (54%). Over a third (38%) missed going shopping in-store last year and the physical experience of being able to touch and see items close-up. Over half of those surveyed (51%) also said that one of the main benefits of shopping in-store for them was browsing and seeing things they didn’t originally tend to buy.

The data also reveals that the Gen Z consumer will desire immersive retail experiences more than any other demographic this Christmas. 50% of Gen Z are interested in more immersive shopping experiences such as personalised studios in-store, virtual or interactive experiences in-store and QR code enabled experiences, compared with 19% of all adults.

  1. Online marketing reigns supreme: unlock the power of social ads and video content this Christmas 

Yahoo data revealed that online formats including articles, video and social content, ads and content from bloggers and influencers, are deemed more influential by consumers when considering what to buy for Christmas. This is compared to traditional mediums like TV, radio, press, cinema and outdoor.

This is particularly apparent amongst the 16-24 age bracket, with 52% saying social media ads have an influence on their buying consideration, followed closely by online video / banner ads (50%). This is then followed by articles and reviews, with traditional TV ads coming in fourth position for this demographic. This age group is also significantly more likely to be influenced by bloggers and / or influencers when it comes to their buying decisions (30% vs 14% for all adults).

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