Retail sales growth over the Christmas trading period is expected to be “unspectacular”, Mintel said in a report today.
The market research provider predicts a total retail sales growth of just 3% in December 2014, taking retail sales up to £36.5 billion.
Mintel director of Retail Richard Perks commented: “There are several reasons to expect retail sales growth in December 2014 to be slightly more modest than we saw last year; whilst consumer confidence has trended upwards there are signs of a recent faltering in this upward movement and the prospect of interest-rate rises is likely to prompt renewed caution among mortgage holders.
“Additionally, in terms of value, lower inflation will depress retail sales. Overall, the strong retail growth that was seen last Christmas will make the comparatives demanding.”
Year-on-year growth is set to be slightly more weighted towards non-food retailers, with clothing stores and department stores forecast to see a 3.5% growth, and nearly 13% of all retail sales are expected to be made online in the run up to Christmas.
“The internet tends to out-perform at Christmas as consumers turn to the internet when they need to do ‘shopping-list’ shopping – when they are buying for themselves, browsing in-store is more of a pleasure. Mintel’s consumer research backs up our expectations of a strong performance for online sales, with a survey in January showing that fully one-quarter of consumers are planning to shop online more at Christmas 2014 than at Christmas 2013,” added Perks.
“On top of this, our recent e-commerce report found 41% of consumers are shopping via smartphones and 35% are buying via tablets. Mobile devices are making it easier for consumers to shop anytime, anywhere, and this is bolstering growth in internet sales.”
Perks said there are “several reasons” to expect value sales growth this Christmas to be unspectacular.
“There are several reasons to expect value sales growth this Christmas to be unspectacular. Stores continue to dominate Christmas shopping – the large majority of December 2014 retail sales will be offline and even online, store-based retailers will take the majority of sales. But as in-store sales growth will be weak, internet transactions will be surging.”