Tuesday 20 August 2019

Shoppers shun web for stores in splurge on Christmas gifts

Despite the rise in online shopping, most people still plan to do most of their Christmas shopping in traditional shops this year
Despite the rise in online shopping, most people still plan to do most of their Christmas shopping in traditional shops this year

Aideen Sheehan

We still prefer to shop 'til we drop, rather than surf for gifts online.

Three quarters of consumers here will do most of their Christmas shopping in traditional stores, with just 23pc planning to split their purchases between the high street and online, a Bank of Ireland survey shows.

However, online shopping is clearly on the rise as some 72pc of those who will indulge in it are aged between 18 and 34, with Amazon and eBay the most popular sites.

The survey found two thirds of shoppers expect to have most of their shopping finished in the next two weeks, and only 28pc plan to leave it until Christmas week.

A gender divide remains, with 73pc of women planning to make their purchases in November and early December, whereas nearly three-quarters of men will be shopping throughout December and right up to Christmas. Men were also twice as likely as women not to know yet what gifts they will buy, but three-quarters of them plan to splash out more than €1,000 on presents - though the survey was a small one of just 300 consumers.

Overall, shoppers here planned to spend the same as last year and 62pc planned to keep their spending under €500.

Not surprisingly, toys are the top purchase for Christmas this year, followed by electronics, clothes, vouchers and jewellery.

Retail Excellence Ireland (REI), which represents stores, is hoping to capitalise on the Irish preference for traditional bricks and mortar shopping with Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday launching its 'Small Business Saturday' drive, encouraging shoppers to buy locally on December 6.

The campaign stresses the spin-off benefits to towns and communities of shopping locally, with some 272,000 people employed in retail and every €1 spent worth €4 to the local economy as the money spent continues to circulate through wages and payments for local services.

REI's Sean Murphy said that while the shops are getting busier all the time, it's the first weekend in December when Christmas spending really takes off in Ireland.

While 'Black Friday' tomorrow and 'Cyber Monday' on December 1 are huge online shopping dates in the US, where retailers hold sales to capitalise on consumers being off work for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, this marketing drive is not yet such a big thing in Ireland, he said.

However, some retailers such as Boots and pixmania.ie are offering 'Black Friday' discounts on selected items to tempt Irish shoppers into making Christmas purchases tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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