Consumer spend to grow this Christmas as confidence in retail sector grows
A new study by Barclays Bank Ireland predicts consumer spend will increase this Christmas compared to previous years
22 November 2013
Consumer spend is set to see an increase this Christmas compared to the same time last year, with the majority of retailers believing sales will exceed or match 2012, according to a new study released this week by Barclays Bank Ireland.
The study shows that 80% of retailers believe this year’s Christmas sales will exceed or match sales last year and about 40% of retailers believe consumers will overall spend more this Christmas than last year.
As confidence gradually improves in the Irish retail sector less than 20% of retailers anticipate a drop in consumer spend on last year and only 16% of respondents said they felt less confident about Christmas trading this year.
Commenting on the results, head of large corporates for Barclays Bank Ireland, Helen Kelly said: "It is encouraging to see that after some time the confidence of retailers is improving, which is in direct correlation with the gradual improvement in consumer confidence in recent months."
She added that the move by the ECB to cut rates further should provide a boost for retailers saying: "The recent decision by the ECB to cut rates by a further 25 basis points should help boost sentiment further and hopefully result in strong sales at the tills this Christmas, which would give the retail sector a much needed boost."
It is reported in the survey that online purchasing will be very popular this year saying that almost half of retailers expect mobile devices to experience the biggest growth this Christmas, with some anticipating that sales using these devices could grow by as much as 50%.
Almost half of retailers believed online traffic will rise by at least 11 per cent on Christmas Day, compared with last year. On this Kelly commented: "Christmas Day may be one of only a few days a year when retailers are not physically able to open but that won’t stop consumers bagging sales bargains online. This presents a great opportunity for retailers who do have a strong online presence to maximise sales during the all-important Christmas period."
Although there has been an increase in sales, Irish retailers expect consumers to continue to be prudent this year and 72% expect that practical presents will remain the most popular choice this Christmas. Only 28% believe that consumers would spend more on frivolous gifts.
The survey shows that the retail categories retailers predicted would see the most growth were beauty and health; clothing footwear and accessories; food and grocery and electricals respectively.