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LiveArea Research | Festive Retail Trends


LiveArea surveyed 2,000 UK consumers across various demographics to explore the impact that lockdown restrictions and high street challenges will have on shopping behaviours throughout the December festive retail peak.

Key findings:

Londoners are the most willing to embrace the high street

London shoppers have shown the most appetite to head to the high street for their Christmas shopping, with almost half (44%) planning to shop in-store during December. This is followed by shoppers in Northern Ireland (41%) and the South West (36%).

Londoners show the most appetite to head to the high street for Christmas shopping, with 44% planning to shop in-store during December, compared to a UK average of 32%.

These figures compare against the UK average of 32% among respondents who celebrate Christmas, and come after the latest Springboard report revealed a burgeoning sense of lockdown fatigue.

Meanwhile, shoppers in the North East were the least likely to be venturing to the high street this festive season, with over a third (34%) planning to avoid physical stores altogether. This was followed by those living in Yorkshire and Humberside (32%), Scotland (29%), and the East of England (29%).

Lockdown heaps pressure on eCommerce operations

Over a third (38%) of UK shoppers managed to get all or most of their Christmas shopping done online while non-essential stores were shut during the November lockdown.

Among the respondents, three-quarters (73%) bought at least some of their gifts online, but well over half (58%) ran into issues while doing so.

With increased demand on eCommerce retailers this year, shopping online was not without its challenges. The leading causes of friction while shopping online were delayed deliveries (14%), low stock levels (13%), and difficulties while browsing or thinking of gift ideas (12%).

Well over half (58%) of consumers that shopped online during November ran into issues while doing so.

Consumers step up spend during November

A third (31%) of respondents said they spent more during the November lockdown compared to other months of the year. Among these, one in ten said they spent much more during the period.

Londoners led the pack with their online spending over lockdown, with 17% saying they spent much more compared to other months, followed by shoppers in the North East (15%) and the North West (11%).

Lockdown disrupts brand loyalty

November’s lockdown also saw a fifth (21%) of shoppers experiment with new brands more than usual. With more time on their hands, 18-34 year-olds (33%) and those based in the capital (36%) had the most appetite to buy from retailers they had not bought from before.


Opinion – Elliott Jacobs, LiveArea

“In the absence of physical stores, eCommerce has remained a key lifeline for British shoppers looking to get their Christmas shopping done on time,” said Elliott Jacobs, EMEA Commerce Consulting Director at LiveArea, the customer experience and commerce expert.

“Despite this, it’s clear there is still work to be done to ensure retailers’ online infrastructure and back-end systems can stand up to surges in online demand. What’s more, while those hit hardest with lockdown restrictions are least likely to be visiting the high street this year, many shoppers across the country are still planning to head in-store to finish their Christmas shopping – here, retailers must join the dots between digital and physical to provide seamless and consistent experiences across the entire omnichannel landscape.”


The study was developed by LiveArea and conducted in December 2020 by independent research provider Opinium, surveying 2,000 consumers in the UK.


See more LiveArea & PFS research:

LiveArea Research | Lockdown Retail Trends

LiveArea Research | COVID-19 Business Impacts & Future Planning

PFS & LiveArea Research | Consumerism vs. Conscious Commerce: Striking the Balance

PFS Research | How US & UK Shoppers Are Responding to COVID-19

LiveArea is an award-winning global customer experience and commerce agency. We bring the full potential of digital business to life, helping brands create more meaningful and lasting customer connections. Fusing creativity, strategy, and technology, our portfolio of services includes product innovation, connected commerce, service design, performance marketing, and orchestrated services. LiveArea creates world-class commerce experiences online and in-store. We build and launch innovative products and services powered by data-driven insights to elevate customer relationships. Clients cover a variety of verticals, including health and beauty, fashion and apparel, luxury, consumer packaged goods, retail, health, automotive, along with B2B, B2C, and D2C.




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