The Evolution of Last-Minute Shopping and the Financial Impact of Early Christmas Spending in 2023 

Traditionally, last-minute shoppers have been synonymous with the adrenaline-fueled dash for gifts in the final week before Christmas. However, this last-minute shopping rush is undergoing transformation and this year’s last-minute shoppers are navigating a unique set of challenges. 

Consumer behaviours are adapting to the financial realities they face. Stubborn inflation, escalating interest rates, and a reduction in spending power have prompted many Brits to reevaluate their approach to Christmas spending. A notable trend has emerged – consumers recognize the financial benefits of getting ahead with their Christmas shopping. 

As we delve into the post-holiday season, it’s crucial for businesses and site owners to analyse the festive month of December. Understanding the distribution of visits across different locations can provide valuable insights into user behaviour and preferences.  

In this article, we’ll break down the demographic profile of visitors from a selection of retail places across the UK, based on percentage of total visits. This data is taken from TERAIN using its unique MOSAIC feature. Let’s compare the data of the week before Christmas (Monday 18th - Sunday 24th) versus December as a whole and understand if last minute Christmas shoppers made any major impact on these locations. 

Rural Reality

Householders living in less expensive homes in village communities 

% Week Before Christmas: 2.062 
% December: 2.558 
Difference: -0.496 

Despite a slight decrease in the week before Christmas, Rural Reality maintained a steady flow of visitors throughout December. 

Senior Security

Elderly people with assets who are enjoying a comfortable retirement

% Week Before Christmas: 7.16 
% December: 6.364 
Difference: 0.796 

Senior Security experienced a notable increase in visits during the week before Christmas, showcasing heightened interest during this period.

Suburban Stability

Mature suburban owners living settled lives in mid-range housing

% Week Before Christmas: 5.518
% December: 5.668
Difference: -0.15 

Suburban Stability saw a minor dip in the week before Christmas, but overall, the numbers remained relatively stable throughout the month.

City Prosperity

High status city dwellers living in central locations and pursuing careers with high rewards

% Week Before Christmas: 1.4 
% December: 1.334 
Difference: 0.066 

City Prosperity experienced a slight uptick in visits during the week before Christmas, indicating continued interest during the holiday season. 

Prestige Positions

Established families in large detached homes living upmarket lifestyles

% Week Before Christmas: 6.362 
% December: 6.676 
Difference: -0.314 

Prestige Positions witnessed a decrease in visits in the week before Christmas, but overall, the numbers remained robust throughout December.

Country Living

Well-off owners in rural locations enjoying the benefits of country life

% Week Before Christmas: 2.364 
% December: 2.304 
Difference: 0.06
 

Country Living saw a marginal increase in visits during the week before Christmas, contributing to a positive trend for the entire month.

Domestic Success

Thriving families who are busy bringing up children and following careers

% Week Before Christmas: 9.194
% December: 9.178
Difference: 0.016 

Despite a slight decrease in the week before Christmas, Domestic Success maintained a strong presence throughout the holiday month.

Aspiring Homemakers

Younger households settling down in housing priced within their means

% Week Before Christmas: 10.334 
% December: 10.268 
Difference: 0.066 

Aspiring Homemakers experienced a consistent level of interest during both the week before Christmas and the entire month.

Family Basics

Families with limited resources who budget to make ends meet

% Week Before Christmas: 10.462
% December: 10.414
Difference: 0.048 

Family Basics maintained a stable flow of visits, with a slight decrease in the week before Christmas.

Transient Renters

Single people renting low cost homes for the short term

% Week Before Christmas: 5.072
% December: 5.174
Difference: -0.102 

Transient Renters saw a decrease in visits in the week before Christmas, but the overall trend remained relatively steady. 

Municipal Tenants

Urban residents renting high density housing from social landlords

% Week Before Christmas: 6.668
% December: 6.744
Difference: -0.076 

Municipal Tenants experienced a slight decrease in visits during the week before Christmas, but the numbers remained consistent for December.

Vintage Value

Elderly people with limited pension income, mostly living alone. Single people renting low cost homes for the short term

% Week Before Christmas: 6.198
% December: 6.188
Difference: 0.01 

Vintage Value maintained a steady flow of visits, with a marginal increase during the week before Christmas.

Modest Traditions

Mature homeowners of value homes enjoying stable lifestyles

% Week Before Christmas: 5.436
% December: 5.29
Difference: 0.146 

Modest Traditions experienced a notable increase in visits during the week before Christmas, contributing to a positive overall trend.

Urban Cohesion

Residents of settled urban communities with a strong sense of identity

% Week Before Christmas: 6.828
% December: 6.412
Difference: 0.416 

Urban Cohesion saw a significant increase in visits during the week before Christmas, reflecting heightened interest during the holiday season.

Rental Hubs

Educated young people privately renting in urban neighbourhoods 

% Week Before Christmas: 12.452
% December: 12.748
Difference: -0.296 

Rental Hubs experienced a decrease in visits in the week before Christmas, but the overall numbers remained strong for December. 

As we take a closer look into the data, many of the visits come from family groups that are under ‘Domestic Success’, ‘Aspiring Homemakers’ and ‘Family Basics’ which suggests that there is a greater emphasis on leisure activities with children or possibly other friends, as these groups tend to shop online.  Additionally, there’s a varied level of affluence across the three – all three groups exhibiting stable visit patterns across the festive period suggests a financial prudence in spreading their shopping (and therefore expenditure) throughout; we have mentioned throughout this festive series.  

A large share of visits from the ‘Rental Hubs’ category also suggests a focus on leisure, especially F+B, as these groups tend to shop online and visit retail destinations for their leisure offering. None of these profiles would suggest a massive late-Christmas rush to get shopping done, so visits have stayed high and the profile has remained the same. 

Looking ahead to the intricate landscape of holiday shopping in 2024, the last-minute shopper’s profile is intertwined with a broader narrative of financial prudence and strategic planning. 

The analysis of the demographic data across various geolocations provides valuable insights for businesses and site owners. Understanding the fluctuations in traffic during the week before Christmas compared to the entire month helps in refining strategies and catering to the preferences of different audience segments. As we move forward, leveraging this data can contribute to more targeted and effective approaches in content creation, marketing, and sales. 

Our Festive series this year started with deep analysis of past year’s data providing some predictions that we will further compare with real time data. Click here to read more about our Festive Series

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