Consumers Blame Economy as Xmas Sales Fall by GBP245m

By Intersperience, PRNE
Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Intersperience Explains Consumer Behaviour Behind Festive Retail Data

LONDON, January 12, 2011 - Fears about the economic situation, rather than heavy snow, were the main
reason for a fall in UK consumer spending in the run-up to Christmas,
according to a new survey by Intersperience, the international consumer
research specialist.

Four out of ten shoppers said economic uncertainty made them more
cautious and contributed to them spending around GBP245 million less than
they did last year.

Poor weather boosted internet sales, with 35% of shoppers spending more
online than they had expected. However, 68% of people said they experienced
some kind of problem with website purchases this Christmas.

Paul Hudson, chief executive of Intersperience, said: "Our survey clearly
shows that economic confidence had a bigger negative influence on actual
Christmas spending than snow. Harsh weather drove more people online but
consumers told us even before the snow hit that they would spend less. People
feel the financial situation is more negative than last year and that remains
a key worry for the retail sector."

Consumers over the age of 25, who account for the vast majority of retail
sales, spent GBP313 per head, which was GBP7 per head less than last year.

Chief executive Paul Hudson said: "Over the years our surveys show that
people always spend more than they intend to but this time 70% of shoppers
who set a budget stuck to it, which is unusually high. It is clear that
people are keeping a much tighter rein on their finances, even though the
recession officially ended many months ago."

Consumers told Intersperience in the run-up to Christmas that online
shopping would be more important to them this year than ever. While 81% of
consumers shopped online, this is a much lower proportion than had been

One in six online shoppers, or 17%, failed to receive at least one
present by Christmas Day, while 11% received a wrong item or something they
were not expecting. And 25% of consumers spent less online as a result of
such problems.

Chief executive Paul Hudson said: "The majority of those that went online
looking for a bargain or to beat the snow had a problem of some kind.
Overall, online retailing failed to live up to people's expectations and the
problems they faced receiving orders put them off further internet


About the Intersperience Christmas Shopping Survey:

Intersperience conducted a comprehensive survey of shoppers in the UK on
their spending and shopping habits in the run-up to Christmas 2010 and the
week after. The survey used quantitative and qualitative research methods to
analyse spending and shopping behaviour and includes consumers' views on
online retail experiences, shopping on the high street, in superstores, or
via mail order. It includes data on the impact of technology and economic
factors on consumers and analysis of differences in the behaviour and
preferences of consumers aged 18-24 and those aged 25 and above.

About Intersperience:

Intersperience is an international consumer research specialist with
expertise in consumer behaviour, experience and attitudes. The team has more
than 25 years experience in analysing consumer behaviour. It employs a range
of interpretative models and frameworks including a proprietary online
research platform. Intersperience has significant global expertise and an
international research hub at Lancaster University which conducts research in
more than 60 languages as well as associates in major global markets.
Intersperience is an expert in how technology impacts on consumer behaviour
and multi-channel customer service strategy. Clients include: Matalan;
Iceland; Samsung; ScottishPower; William Hill; General Motors, and The
British Council.

    For more information:
    Tel: +44(0)15395-65450

For more information: Tel: +44(0)15395-65450; Intersperience Chief Executive Paul Hudson is available for interview. Photographs are also available upon request. Media Contact: Valerie Darroch tel +44(0)7970-737708, Email valdarroch at

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