The findings revealed that 46 per cent of retailers are optimistic of a better Christmas than in 2006, with only 2 per cent fearing a downturn in holiday sales (52 per cent expect sales to remain the same). This is following American Express’ second annual Retail Monitor, which highlights the importance of the Christmas period for the UK retailers, with those surveyed expecting it to account for over a quarter of their yearly revenue.
Consumers also share this optimism, with 88 per cent planning to spend more or the same over the holiday period. 90 per cent of consumers are also planning to do some shopping online, to avoid the stress of the holiday shop. On average Christmas shoppers plan to spend £307 on gifts, with 14 per cent planning to spend in excess of £500.
Regarding the potential problems faced by retailers, consumer confidence, competition and the economy, were highlighted as the biggest challenges. To combat this pressure, retailers are looking to advertise in new media, with twice as many preferring online advertisement to TV.
Speaking about the findings, Scott Abrahams, vice president of American Express, said: "It seems that those UK retailers focusing their advertisement efforts on the Internet will be vindicated, with the number of UK shoppers planning to shop online on the increase yet again. However, it is key that retailers ensure that the online shopping process is a smooth as possible, as Internet savvy consumers will not wait for slow-loading sites, or struggle unduly with difficult to navigate sites."