Christmas spending frenzy as retail sales set to rise to £16bn

Photo by Jordan Nix on Unsplash

Despite reports that this year’s Black Friday event turned out to be a bit of a ‘damp squib’, market analysts are predicting that this season’s retail sales will rise to a record 16 billion this year during the annual festive period shopping frenzy.

Discount stores are expected to reap the greatest rewards when it comes to grocery shopping – as an increasing number of shoppers turn to Lidl and Aldi for their big Christmas shop.

According to market analysts, Conlumino, last year Tesco were the biggest winners with 16.5% of the £5 billion grocery spend in the UK, with Asda and Sainsbury’s not far behind with 12.1% and 10.2% respectively.

Speaking to retail week, Greg Bromley – a retail analyst at Columino explained why Aldi and Lidl continue to grow in popularity in the volatile market:

“Aldi and Lidl introducing premium ranges to rival the likes of Tesco finest to their Christmas offer means customers won’t overlook them for their main festive food shop.

“People now see the quality of Aldi and Lidl’s food as being as good as and even higher than that of the big four.”

Consumers have changed the way that they think about discount brands and this shift in perception – which the discounters have worked hard to achieve – has been pivotal in their success. In previous years shoppers may have bought a few items from Aldi or Lidl and done their big shop at one of the ‘big four’ supermarkets. Now the indications are that they have reversed this trend – doing their main shop at a discounter store and picking up sundry items at the larger supermarkets.

Consumer confidence in the Aldi and Lidl brand has been boosted by a number of factors. Both stores regularly win prizes for the quality of their food and Aldi has won ‘Which? Supermarket of the Year’ four times since 2009. Shoppers no longer view the discounted option as a compromise, as they retain quality whilst reaping the benefits of reduced prices, as Bromley explains:

“Perception of quality for the big four has remained static whilst it has improved significantly for the discounters.”

He indicates that shopping patterns this Christmas will be more consistent than they were last year – after Black Friday 2015 morphed from a one-day retail event to several days or even weeks of discounts in some stores:

“(The) extension of the Black Friday period means there is unlikely to be a massive lull in spending like last year and the warmer weather should draw more people to the high street over the next few weeks”
Bromley predicts that Christmas spending will peak from the weekend of December 19th onwards this year and we will, of course be watching with interest to see how accurate his predictions are and how this Christmas retail story unfolds.