Data released today by Quantum Metric, the SaSS company for digital customer insights, has found that a struggling UK supply chain is making the UK public more conscientious shoppers ahead of Christmas and into 2022. When asked how continuing shortages will impact them, consumers said they expect to keep a closer eye on spending due to expected price hikes (37%) and anticipate planning purchases further in advance to ensure stock availability (33%). A significant number are also looking to hold back on new purchases, with over a quarter (26.6%) saying that they would ‘make do and mend’.
The research found this less materialistic attitude carries into Christmas this year, with respondents more concerned about creating a great experience with friends and family than obsessing over finding the perfect gift. Of those surveyed, more than a third (34%) of British parents said a ruined dinner would be their most feared Christmas crisis, compared to just over a fifth (22%) saying not being able to get their child’s most wanted gift is their biggest festive disaster. These findings correlate with research undertaken by Quantum Metric in July that found more than two thirds (66.84%) of the British public saw this year’s Christmas as more emotional or important than it was before the pandemic.
Director of Retail Insights at Quantum Metric, Elissa Quinby said, “Covid-19 and Brexit have created the perfect storm to disrupt retail infrastructure and increase scarcity, which drives up the price of goods. This, coupled with rising inflation that has dramatically increased the cost of living in the UK, means consumers are behaving in much more frugal ways. As a result, we are seeing a big shift in the way people are approaching shopping for non-essentials. They are prioritising the things that really matter to them, rather than buying on a whim.”
However, despite supply chain disruption being heavily publicised, the research also found that the UK public is split on their levels of concern. When asked how worried they were that supply could impact them getting the gifts they need for Christmas, 53% said they are concerned versus 47% not being worried. People were also found to be shopping for Christmas before many retailers even began launching their Christmas adverts, with nearly half of UK shoppers (46.3%) saying they started Christmas shopping before November. This isn’t a new trend either, nearly three quarters (73%) of this group stated this was about the same time or later than they would usually start Christmas shopping, with only 27% saying it was earlier than normal for them.
Quinby summarises, “Consumer attitudes to shopping, especially around the festive season, are shifting. People are buying earlier to give themselves time to find high-quality products at the best prices – behaviour they anticipate will continue into 2022. This suggests that despite the negative impact of the supply chain disruption, it could actually turn us into more conscientious consumers, which is only a good thing when it comes to sustainability. A good example of this is clothing; consumers haven’t been going out as much and socialising, so have not been buying fast throwaway fashion. We’ve got out of the habit of buying a new outfit for every occasion and instead are looking at what we already have in our wardrobes.
“Over a short space of time, we’ve seen a lot of change in the way consumers approach shopping, but retailers don’t seem to be moving at the same pace. They need to re-think what people’s priorities are in terms of pricing and quality and provide it alongside a knockout customer experience if they are to attract the same level of custom as pre-pandemic.”