Peak season spend trends 2023

Brits look to gift meaningfully in the face of cost-of-living pressures

New research launched today by eBay Ads UK reveals Brits are seeking value for money above all in their Christmas shopping experience this year, with thoughtful gifting emerging as a particular trend amidst ongoing cost of living pressures.

The survey of UK consumers who celebrate Christmas forms the basis of eBay Ads’ annual Peak Season Spend Trends report and finds that over half (51%) of UK consumers say good value for money is their top priority when shopping for gifts this festive season.

Read the full eBay Ads UK Peak Season Spend Trends 2023 report here.

Christmas shopping

Consequently, the scale of this year’s festivities is set to take a hit as nearly half (48%) reveal they plan to have modest celebrations due to cost-of-living pressures, with one in five (19%) citing that Christmas will feel stressful as there’s more to worry about than usual. This tracks closely with the percentage of people who reported that Christmas would feel stressful in 2022 (20%)1, highlighting the enduring impact the cost of living is having on shoppers.

A caring and considerate Christmas for consumers

The findings also reveal Brits favour gifts with meaning over big price tags, as they look to get more savvy with their seasonal spending. Almost two thirds (64%) of consumers say that thoughtful gifts are better received than expensive gifts.

This preference for meaning over extravagance is echoed in Brits’ Christmas shopping plans, as almost half (47%) plan to buy thoughtful gifts for friends and family this year and a further 48% say they spend a lot of time exploring their options before making festive gift purchases.

Christmas shopping

Brits to take advantage of ‘holiday’ season

Regardless of a more frugal approach to peak season purchases this year, after years of uncertainty and disruption during the festive period, many Brits have a Christmas getaway on the cards this year.

Whether it be going abroad or opting for a staycation, one in five (20%) report that they plan to celebrate this Christmas with a holiday, and 19% plan to head overseas – either to visit friends and family, for a winter destination holiday, or for a hot weather escape. As such, 27% of holidaymakers this season say they’ll be buying cold weather clothes and footwear, while 24% are prioritising getting kitted out for hot destinations.

The impact of advertising on peak season

Looking at the impact of online advertising on Christmas shopping, it is evident that advertising continues to play a significant role on consumers’ purchasing decisions. Our research found that 34% of consumers said they are influenced by online advertisements during the Christmas period; from those that are somewhat influenced – citing that they are open-minded and that advertisements help spark discovery – to those that are heavily influenced – relying on advertisements to help them find exactly what they are looking for.

Following ongoing economic pressures, it’s to be expected that many Brits are taking a more cautious approach to their Christmas spending this year. Tough times in recent years, could explain a favour to find thoughtful items for loved ones this Christmas over expensive gifts. It’s pivotal that retailers are alert to those worrying about their finances during the run up to Christmas, ensuring there is ‘value’ in the inventory on offer – be that price or quality, it’s clear consumers are looking for their money’s worth.

In the run up to the busiest retail period of the year, it’s key for brands and sellers to invest in their marketing strategies, to engage and inspire consumers throughout their Christmas shopping journey.

Upasana Gupta, GM, eBay ads UK

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