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Source: London Assembly

As one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year begins, new research published by the London Assembly Economy Committee has revealed that 4 in 5 Londoners plan to do some or all of their Christmas shopping online. This is a big increase compared to 2019, when 60% of people in the UK said they would do some or all of their Christmas shopping online. [3]

The new research also found that 2 in 5 Londoners plan to do all of their Christmas shopping online this year, while 1 in 10 Londoners plan to do all their Christmas shopping in-store.

31% of Londoners surveyed claimed that their reason for shopping solely online for Christmas presents is because they are nervous to go out because of COVID-19. Two thirds of Londoners surveyed said they are shopping in-store as they want to support local businesses.

Other findings from the research showed:

  • Half of Londoners plan to spend the same amount on Christmas presents this year compared to previous years while 2 in 5 Londoners plan to spend less
  • 3 in 5 Londoners would be more likely to shop with local businesses if they offered a ‘Click and Collect’ service

Online shopping has been increasing at the expense of traditional in-store shopping over the last decade. In 2011, only around 8% of UK Christmas shoppers ventured onto the web to buy presents.[4]   Meanwhile, the pandemic has already seen UK internet shopping surge by 50%. The survey results show that the trend away from in-store shopping and onto online will massively accelerate this year for this Christmas compared to last year. [5]

The Economy Committee has today published a report on London’s Christmas economy and COVID-19. The report makes a number of recommendations including:

  • The Mayor should establish a programme that provides practical and financial support to help small and medium-sized enterprises improve or move to trading online and offer click-and-collect services, then track the subsequent growth in the number of businesses that are able to offer these services across the capital
  • The Mayor should create a new responsibility on the Mayoral team, dedicated to representing London’s performing arts
  • The Mayor should continue to lobby the government to reverse the decision to end tax-free international shopping, and update the Committee as to how he is actively engaging the government to advocate on this issue

Léonie Cooper AM, Chair of the Economy Committee said,

“While COVID-19 has accelerated Londoners’ plans to shop online for their Christmas shopping this year, it’s clear that this is on top of a general trend for Londoners doing more shopping online. Many Londoners quoted the convenience of browsing for good deals and products online, as well as the option to get shopping delivered.

“With so many people more likely to shop online and COVID-19 restrictions keeping people at home, there is a need for clear action about what this means for local high streets, central London and, the employees who work in this area. In what would usually be the busiest shopping month of the year, businesses on the high street are facing uncertainty and possibly the worst December on record.

“The Mayor needs to respond to this shift in consumer habits and offer more help to small businesses across the capital with creating their online presence. 3 in 5 Londoners said that they would be more likely to shop local if businesses offer a Click and Collect service. Going online can be daunting for businesses that have relied on bricks and mortar and footfall to make a profit. With people spending more time at home because of COVID-19 restrictions, support must be given to businesses around the capital who want a slice of this online consumer base.”

MIL OSI United Kingdom