Skip to content

Record End of Year Retail Figures Predicted as Vaccines Boost Confidence

As the coronavirus vaccine begins to get rolled out in the UK as well as in Russia, it is predicted that consumer confidence will start to grow. This should ensure a strong end to 2020 for some industries, with retail already performing well.

The Retail Numbers

A supermarket boom in November made this the best ever month for the UK’s grocery sector. With many other types of business closed due to the latest restrictions, some £10.9 billion was spent in a mixture of online and in-store transactions.  

The numbers from data firm Kantar confirmed take-home sales groceries rose by over 11% in the 12 weeks to the end of November. In the last four weeks, sales rose by almost 14%, which is good news for companies that have been relying on debt collection firms for much of the pandemic.

Among the areas of strongest growth was alcohol, which grew by an impressive 33% in the month compared to last year, with spirits accounting for a large percentage of the growth. In particular, cream liqueur sales were double those seen in 2019.

Another area that has seen significant growth is the sale of festive lights, with 238% growth suggesting that a lot of people are looking to end 2020 on a more cheerful note. Turkeys have also been in demand, with 36% more sales than at this time in 2019.

Meanwhile, Brits spent £11 million on Christmas puddings in November. Yet, the sales of mince pies plunged by 8%, which has been put down to the fact that there aren’t as many chances to share these treats with work colleagues and friends this year.

What Happens Next?

Current predictions suggest that December will see grocery sales boom even more, with new record numbers set. One of the effects of this surge in sales has been that supermarkets have been forced to pay back the business rates relief that they had been given.

Yet, a separate report by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) suggests that a third of us have already completed our Christmas shopping for this year. That compares to the 19% who had everything sorted out by the end of November last year.

Their report points out that the risk of lockdown making it more difficult to get hold of gifts this year is the main factor behind this trend. Close to 50% of the people questioned confirmed that they had carried out the majority of their Christmas shopping online.  

Mark Dodds, who is chair of CIM’s food, drink and agriculture group, stated that this is “serious news” for retailers who had been relying on a shopping splurge in December. Instead, he called it “devastating for shops” that are relying upon Christmas footfall to end a difficult year well.

The question of rising investor confidence has been raised after research in Germany found that it was up strongly, from 39 points to 55 points. This is despite the German economy suffering a poor month after the country was plunged into a lockdown until the end of the year.