The CPI and points-of-purchase, revisited
… shoppers will continue to switch their spending away from the high street in favour of online purchases, Experian said. They can also expect to see deeper discounts than last year, as retailers battle to win their share of festive spending.
According to Experian’s November Retail FootFall Index, the Christmas rush has finally started on the high street, “but with a whimper, not a bang”. Although it recorded the highest month-on-month rise in shopper numbers this year, the boost is later than expected and overall numbers are still trailing behind 2006 by nearly 3%.
But Experian’s web-tracking company, Hitwise, recorded a 22.4% jump in online visits to all shopping and classified sites during November, suggesting that the relatively poor show on the high street is due to shifting channel choice rather than declines in spending.
Experian’s Martin Davies said: “The boom in online activity shows that UK consumers are still determined to celebrate this Christmas. Despite fragile financial markets, uncertainty about house prices and the likelihood of rising utility bills, consumer spending this Christmas is likely to exceed that of last year.”
I shall be interested to see (a) pressure build up for the CPI figures to deal with this, somehow; (b) a decent analysis in the media of how the costs of Christmas shake out, with price-hunting online purchasing being a method employed by households to beat inflation, related to (c) some analysis of how Christmas purchasing may advance while seasonal employment slumps to a new Christmas low, as retailers take enormous hits out on high street (this goes for the US, as much as – or more than – for the UK).