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Shoppers delay Christmas spending in anticipation of further seasonal promotions

Trading at British supermarkets slowed down in October suggesting shoppers are holding out for Christmas promotions and putting off seasonal spending for as long as they can.

Headline value growth at the UK’s grocery multiples slowed to +2.7 percent (from +4.0 percent) in the four weeks to 29 October, while unit growth slowed to -1.9 percent (from -0.9 percent), according to the latest retailer performance figures released by Nielsen.

Nielsen senior manager for retailer services Mike Watkins explains: “The warm weather tempted many of us out to buy a little more freely back in September, injecting some short-term momentum into the market. So, it’s not surprising that in October we appear to have seen a redressing of the balance, with shoppers holding back.

“Looking ahead, we can now expect the major supermarkets to ramp up their efforts to attract shoppers over the crucial Christmas period. We believe this will happen in three key ways: big seasonal promotions of Christmas items, such as alcohol and confectionery; price cuts on frequently-purchased groceries; and further cash savings at the checkout through the distribution of money-off vouchers.”

In addition, a Nielsen Homescan survey in October shows that 62 percent of shoppers favour price cuts over ‘multi buys’.

This is because price cuts allow shoppers to buy just what they need, helping them to budget, even though the savings may not be so great.

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