Cost of living fears won’t deter Brits from Christmas spend – Future plc

cost of living crisis and christmas shopping - Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Future plc, the global platform for specialist media, has today released findings on expected consumer shopping trends and expenditure for Black Friday and Christmas 2022, against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis. 

The research reveals 91% of Brits will be the same or more engaged in Black Friday this year despite 88% expressing that they are concerned or very concerned about the current economic climate. 

In addition, just 20% will cut back on Christmas spending this year indicating quiet optimism overall.

Cost of living consumer survey

The research, based on a survey in June 2022 of 2,462 respondents – all recruited independently via Future plc’s research platform The Lens – included more than 50 in-depth questions about the cost of living crisis, savings, shopping, Black Friday and Christmas.

Future said the sample is nationally representative for the UK, with percentage split ensured for gender, geography, age and social class. Of this sample, 59% of respondents are Future readers.

The analysis reveals the cost of living crisis is now consumer’s number one concern and a mainstream issue, with just 5% not expecting to make any spending cutbacks. 

Surpassing the Coronavirus pandemic, which now sits at eighth, to complete the top three concerns are family health and family financial security, while the future of the NHS and war in Ukraine place fourth and fifth.

More than four in five (81%) individuals expect to cut back on non-essential retail goods with 61% expecting their spending habits to return to normal once the cost of living crisis has passed, indicating the situation is temporary. 

Furthermore 60% of the British public have savings remaining from lockdown, with 75% confident they can survive the crisis given their savings and 43% planning to use savings to maintain their current lifestyle. 

However the British public is also taking practical steps to become more agile with household budgets and discretionary spending with 47% choosing not to eat and drink out in social settings, 38% cutting entertainment subscriptions and 29% putting planned holidays on hold.

Upcoming retail events

Looking ahead to upcoming retail events, Black Friday has become further entrenched with the Christmas shopping period, with 43% seeing the day as their main way of sourcing gifts for Christmas and 27% already planning where to spend their budgets for the festive season. 

In fact, just 13% of consumers plan to cut their Black Friday spend and over half (51%) see Black Friday as a vital time of the year to make their money go as far as possible. 

Likewise, just 20% will be cutting their festive budgets, reflecting that 45% are determined to make Christmas bigger and better than ever.

For Future’s audience specifically, readers are more likely to have a greater budget to spend this Christmas (+27%) and Black Friday (+44%) than the average Brit, highlighting a strong intent to buy. 

Although a proportion of lockdown savings have been injected back into the economy, 83% of Future’s audience have savings remaining, placing them in a more optimistic position to navigate the cost of living crisis and events like Christmas and Black Friday. 

Online marketplaces continue to be the preferred method of gift shopping at 51%, however, confidence has increased in bricks and mortar since last year with a third (33%) expected to shop on the high-street.

Passion for hobbies

Almost all (99%) of Future’s audience has at least one hobby, indicating they are passion-driven. 

To navigate the festive period 94% are seeking expert help and advice from trusted content ahead of Christmas – the best value-for-money deals, gift ideas, discount vouchers and cooking recipes are among the top searched queries. 

Brand strategies must therefore focus on ensuring consumers receive the best possible prices, service, choice and value, working with premium publishers to access the targeted and engaged audiences that will benefit most from this content.

Cost of living crisis

Although the cost of living affects businesses as well as consumers, 95% of the Future audience expect brands to take corrective action with 47% looking to brands to meet them halfway by reducing prices. 

In January 2022, Future rolled out video content to all its ‘Deals’ pages across its eCommerce portfolio, enhancing consumers’ experiences of the products they are reviewing and ensuring they make the most informed choice at the best price on particular products making their household budgets go further.

“Christmas and Black Friday are two strong anchor points in the calendar that seem increasingly non-negotiable in terms of engagement and involvement among UK consumers despite the cost of living crisis”, said Clare Dove, UK Group Commercial Director at Future plc. 

“Our research shows, however, that Brits will spend wisely during this time, carefully calculating their savings accumulated in lockdown, making pragmatic decisions to alter their lifestyles and seeking out valuable advice through content online to get the best deals. 

“Through this research, Future can see there is still enthusiasm and purchase intent amongst our audience base, supplying brands with the data they need to create the optimal commercial content ahead of this year’s big retail events,”