£1.6bn to be spent in UK on Super Saturday, markdowns are key

Bad weather, a touch of complacency and expectations of bigger discounts may have kept Britons from splashing out in a big way so far this Christmas shopping season, but the shopper trickle will turn into a flood this weekend.


Discounts will be a big lure for shoppers this Saturday


A new survey suggests that 17.4 million shoppers will spend £1.6 billion on last-minute buys this Saturday.

The so-called Super Saturday should see people busing a mix of gifts, fashion and general groceries on a day that might usually have been more about perishable food purchases or panic-buying by those who’ve ignored the onset of the Christmas season so far.

Voucher Codes and the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) said that December 22 will be the first time in 11 years that the last full shopping day before Christmas is on a Saturday (stores will be open on Sunday but opening hours will be much shorter). Saturday also coincides with workers receiving December salaries on Thursday or Friday.

The equivalent day last year wasn’t the Saturday, which was Christmas Eve. It was what was dubbed Frenzied Friday and on that day, 15.6 million shoppers spent £1.1 billion in stores and online.

So how did VoucherCodes/CRR come to the conclusion that this year’s spend will be so much bigger? Well, it was a mix of a survey of over 2,000 people commissioned from Opinium, plus other data and observations.

The survey found that 43% of Britons were planning to leave their Christmas gift shopping to the last minute, which is a massive number and underlines just how much the Christmas shopping season has changed in recent years.

Paul Lewis, senior director of marketing at VoucherCodes, said: "With Christmas falling on a Monday this year, Saturday will be particularly busy on the high street as Brits brace the busy crowds to snap up last-minute festive purchases.”

Importantly too, he added that a number of retailers will also be bringing the start of their Boxing Day sales forward this year, which could mean major savings on bigger ticket items as well as winter and party season fashion and beauty gift boxes.

And discounts are being applied across the price range from Isabel Marant jackets and Alaia belts at the high end, to sock boots cut by 50% at Topshop or a Boots No 7 gift box cut to less than £40 despite containing over £140 worth of product.

BUSY WEEKEND

Meanwhile, payments specialist Worldpay said that retail locations could be at least 45% busier this weekend than they usually are. 

That underlines consumers’ intense focus on discounts this year. Fashion Network’s observations last Saturday were that key shopping destinations were quieter than might have been expected that late into the season. 

This leaves consumers with plenty of cash left to take advantage of the large number of discounts that have been applied in the past few days as stores race to clear Christmas stock.

Worldpay joins VoucherCodes in expecting Saturday to be the busiest shopping day of the season and its marketing chief James Frost said: "It would be easy to underestimate the importance of this weekend in terms of the retail calendar. December 23 is always one of the busiest shopping days of the year, but in other years a lot of that spending will come from food and grocery as people get ready for a Christmas Day feast.

"The way Christmas has fallen this year however, added to the impact of the recent cold snap which saw many consumers stay at home, means shoppers are far more likely to take things right to the wire when it comes to buying gifts.

"The overall result of this is a kind of 'double whammy' effect, which should contribute to an extraordinary day of spending."

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