Britons descended upon the nation’s high streets in their droves to grab their Boxing Day bargains today, with many planning to spend more in this year’s post-Christmas sales than they have in the last two years, according to research.
Customers armed with umbrellas and wearing their winter coats were stood outside a Selfridges store on Oxford Street in London today as stores across the UK launched their festive sales.
Meanwhile others were spotted gathering outside a Zara store at Birmingham’s Bull Ring as the fashion chain also launched its Boxing Day sales.
Shoppers plan to spend an average of £247 each in the end-of-year sales, an increase of £85 on 2020 and £61 more than 2019.
And around 30 per cent of bargain hunters have admitted they started browsing the sales on Christmas Eve, while 27 per cent will have spent some time shopping on Christmas Day.
It comes as footfall is set to plummet on the high street as 34 per cent of shoppers choose to shop online amid Omicron fears.
Stores including Primark, JD Sports, New Look, Zara, Selfridges, and H&M opened their doors to shoppers looking to land a festive bargain this morning.
Lines begin to form inside the Trafford Centre in Manchester as the Boxing Day sales begin
Shoppers stream through the entrance as doors open for the start of the Boxing Day sales at Selfridges department store on Oxford Street in London
A large group of people begin to gather outside a JD Sports for the Boxing Day sales in Birmingham
People carry umbrellas and wear their coats as they wait outside JD Sports and prepare for the sales
Crowds of people queue outside Zara for the Boxing Day sales in Birmingham today
Also among the stores set to welcome customers today are Matalan, Argos and Currys PC World.
Supermarkets Tesco and Asda will also remain open for shoppers.
And Amazon, Boots and Asos have all launched their Boxing Day sales early on their websites, with the prices of sought-after items, such as Apple AirPods, slashed.
However others including Marks & Spencer, Next and John Lewis have decided not to open, giving workers a day off after a year dominated by the pandemic.
The UK’s largest toy chain, The Entertainer, will also stay shut on religious grounds, as it does every Sunday.
The latest research, which was commissioned by Barclaycard Payments, showed that 31 per cent of shoppers will buy clothes, shoes and accessories while 25 per cent of shopper have food and drink at the top of their sales lists this year.
And savvy savers say discounted Christmas-related items, such as decorations, are close behind, with 24 per cent of shoppers looking to make savings now by preparing for Christmas 2022.
The research also found Brits will also be sales shopping with families and friends in mind, with 24 per cent planning to buy gifts for their nearest and dearest.
A fifth are shopping for deals on experiences they can share such as concert tickets, and the same number are hoping to book a discounted holiday to make up for missed trips over the past year.
Similarly, 29 per cent said they’ll be shopping for next Christmas and 22 per cent will be looking for Mother’s Day gifts.
A group of people begin to queue for JD Sports store in Leeds city centre on a cold and wet Boxing Day
Posters outside a JD Sports store in Leeds confirm items will be reduced by 50 per cent today
Primark is among the stores that will open its doors to shoppers looking to grab a Boxing Day bargain today. (Stock image)
Supermarkets including Tesco and Asda will also remain open for shoppers today. (Stock image)
However 47 per cent of those polled believe inflation may affect how much they buy overall, with 49 per cent of these shoppers intending to spend less than they usually would.
While Boxing Day remains the most popular day to start sales shopping, 45 per cent of those questioned said they will shop less frequently in stores over the sales period and four in 10 said they will shop online in an effort to avoid queues and crowds.
Around 34 per cent said they preferred online shopping in general, with 32 per cent saying it was more efficient and allows them to spend time with family and friends during the holidays.
Some 22 per cent are also looking to support smaller businesses and those closer to home in the sales
Harshna Cayley, Head of Online Payments, Barclaycard Payments, said: ‘The rise in spending when compared to the last two years is a reassuring sign for retailers.
‘It shows that, despite inflation increasing and worries about the new Covid-19 variant, consumers are keen to continue the tradition of sales shopping; even when some of the larger retailers are closing their physical stores on Boxing Day itself.
‘Yet, we are also becoming more conscious about the purchases we make.
‘With environmental concerns and the cost of everyday living front of mind, many Brits are seeking sustainable goods and services but also, financially planning for the year ahead by taking advantage of deals to buy items for celebrations in the New Year.’
The study also found that consumers plan to shop more sustainably, with 27 per cent looking to buy fewer ‘fast fashion’ items, and a further 26 per cent making a conscious effort to reduce spending on plastic goods.
In an effort to be more environmentally friendly, 25 per cent of those shopping online will also cut back on over-ordering and returning, while 20 per cent will be seeking deals with retailers that have more sustainable practices.
But shops including Next and John Lewis have decided not to open, giving workers a day off
Marks and Spencers will also stay shut on Boxing Day, giving staff the day off after a year dominated by the pandemic
Against the backdrop of looming price increases in 2022, shoppers appear to be making the most of the opportunity to stock up on things they’ll need over the next few months, with 37 per cent planning to find items for upcoming birthdays.
Clare Bailey, Independent Retail Expert and Founder of The Retail Champion, said: ‘I’m encouraged to see that the Christmas sales are more popular than ever, despite the challenges of the past year and looming impact of inflation.
‘As one of the biggest moments in the retail calendar, it’s promising that so many people are prioritising sustainable shopping and thinking about the wider impact of their purchases.
‘Based on my conversations with retailers, I know local businesses are expecting high demand this festive sales period so I’m very pleased to see the relationship between consumers and their local shops remains strong.’