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    ‘Brits curb spending in run up to Christmas’

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    Most Brits are curbing their spending across the board in the run up to Christmas by buying cheaper items, a recent has stated.

    According to a YouGov survey for Retail Week’s new ‘How They’ll Spend It 2024’ report, half (54 per cent) consumers are now trading down and buying cheaper or own-brand grocery items in the run up to Christmas.

    Buying food and grocery items was still a priority for 80 per cent of those polled, compared to fashion (15 per cent), health and beauty (12 per cent) and toys and other gifting (10 per cent). Just 5 per cent said they would prioritise buying gadgets and electrics.

    Brick-and-mortar stores still remain the top choice to shop. About 36 per cent said also they’re making most of their purchases in physical stores compared to 28 per cent who said they’re shopping mostly online.

    Retail Week’s report further states that three quarters (74 per cent) of shoppers are reluctant to buy from a retailer who has previously charged them to send back an item. Another two thirds (69 per cent) said they would also prioritise free delivery over items being sent to them more quickly, with only 3 per cent saying same-day delivery was as important to them.

    And almost half (43 per cent) said they’ve abandoned a purchase in the past six months because their preferred delivery option was not available.

    H&M u-turned in September after it announced it would also charge shoppers who returned online purchases in store; later clarifying that customers would only be charged a £1.99 fee for online returns made to its warehouse. 

    Lisa Byfield-Green, data and insights director at Retail Week said, “Charging shoppers to return items by post is now relatively commonplace for the sector, but multichannel retailers should ensure that returns to store are always free as customers see brands, not channels.

    “The best way for retailers to respond to the returns issue is to help customers make more informed choices. Providing accurate sizing information can help customers feel more confident and beyond that, there are now plenty of technology tools available to retailers to help customers select the right size.

    “We have seen avatars deployed on Zalando and also John Lewis’ fashion rental site that allow customers to visualise exactly how a garment will look on them so they can make better decisions. Since deploying avatars in the jeans category, Zalando reported that returns decreased by 10% and customers were less likely to order multiple sizes.

    “When returns are necessary, retailers can incentivise customers by charging less for the preferred return option.”

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