Shoppers bringing forward Christmas purchases due to supply chain worries – poll

Shoppers are buying Christmas gifts earlier than usual because of worries about supply chain problems, new figures suggest.

A poll by Barclaycard showed that around a third said they were changing their approach to festive shopping this year due to fears over shortages, with more than half of these bringing forward purchases.

The figures were published alongside monthly consumer data published by the payments business, which showed online spending at toy and children’s products stores rose 38.4% in October compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Overall, consumer card spending grew by 14.2% last month, despite worries about rising household bills and other price increases.

The survey painted contrasting pictures for different sectors.

Cinemas and digital content saw strong growth, boosted by film and TV releases such as No Time To Die, Succession and Squid Game.

But it was a tougher time for some retailers such as department stores while growth in bars and clubs spending eased and restaurants declined – with these trends attributed to concerns about higher bills.

Jose Carvalho, head of consumer products at Barclaycard, said consumer spending in October was “steady yet cautious”.

Separate figures from the British Retail Consortium – which covers shop spending but not the leisure activities also included in the Barclaycard survey – showed retail sales up 1.3% in October compared with 2020, improving from September’s 0.6% growth.

“The much-reported squeeze on household spending has yet to materialise as consumers seem happy to carry on shopping,” said Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, which produces the data with the BRC.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Some people started their Christmas shopping early with beauty advent calendars flying off the shelves and searches for Christmas items ramping up online.”

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