In a recent survey conducted by leading market research agency Maritz Research, 36 per cent of shoppers claim that they intend to purchase the majority of presents over the
internet. Amongst the 35 to 44 year-old age group, as many as 50 per cent show a minimal desire to spend time shopping for gifts in person in the run-up to Christmas.
"Many consumers hope not just to save time by shopping online, but also to gain a price advantage", says Graham Devereux, director for retail research at Maritz Research. "Efficient service when internet shopping is a further factor, as some customers are pushed away from the streets by the sheer crowds."
Some 71 per cent of those surveyed expressed that they would buy Christmas gifts using the online superstore Amazon.
Nevertheless, 64 per cent of shoppers do not want to forgo the traditional Christmas shopping atmosphere. Across various age groups, there are distinct contrasts to be seen: Whilst only half of consumers aged between 35 and 44 intend to buy their
Christmas presents in person, nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of those over 55 stated that they wish to roam from store to store.
At the same time, an identical percentage of the younger 'internet generation', those aged 18 to 24, also plan to head to the shops. "Great Britain's retailers are faced with the challenge of attracting consumer groups two generations apart", states Devereux. "The key to success relies on making relevant product ranges available, at prices customers perceive to be good value. Furthermore, this needs to be supported by staff who are enthusiastic and offer good service."
For 58 per cent of those who wish to do their present shopping in person, the High Street is seen as the most likely location. 27 per cent plan to procure gifts in shopping malls, and 15 per cent in out-of-town retail parks.
"The High Street is the home of the true festive atmosphere, and this is probably the reason why many choose to shop there. Yet, we might see less congestion and fewer queues", explains Devereux. "The missing consumers are not in other shops, however; they are at home, in front of their computers."