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95% of parents shopping online this Christmas – MumPanel 2016 Christmas Survey

With just 44 sleeps to go until Christmas it’s at the forefront of most parents’ minds. But exactly how early do they start planning and will they be spending more or less this year? We found out the answers to these questions and a few more in the MumPanel 2016 Christmas Survey.

It’s been a tough year for lots of families and many have had to find ways to economise and make cutbacks, and Christmas is going to take a hit too. A quarter of families are planning to spend less on Christmas presents this year, but 14% are planning to push the boat out and spend a bit more. The average spend per child this year is around £180, with 10% spending over £300 and at the other end of the spectrum 10% spending under £50.

We’ve seen a marked shift to online shopping this year, with 95% of parents saying they will do at least some of their present buying online. And parents are picking up presents while doing the weekly shop – 63% saying they buy in supermarkets. We shouldn’t forget the other places mums and dads go to buy – Christmas markets, local craft fairs, eBay, charity shops and local selling sites.

In 2012 we found 10% of parents had started food and drink shopping in September, but this year we found out mums and dads like to start present buying much earlier. Almost 14% love finding bargains in the January sales, the majority (47%) start in October and November. And there’s 1% of brave souls who leave it until the week before Christmas.

Retailers leading the way are Amazon (81%), Argos and Tesco for toys and games with Smyths following closely behind. Smiggle and The Range are new places for present shopping that parents didn’t mention last year.  Part of the reason Argos continues to dominate is the good old catalogue – we heard in both the survey and in twitter parties that two-thirds of kids still love to sit and circle the presents they want.

To round up we asked parents ‘What could brands do to help you more with Christmas shopping?’ and here are just a few of the themes that emerged – something for companies to think about for Christmas 2017?

Price is a big issue…

  • Have a shopping list web page, with details such as recipient, ideas, and price bracket and make suggestions for each child
  • Avoid inflating prices!
  • More bargains before Christmas. (Instead of items being half price 1 week later) More deals.
  • Lower prices and more availability for the more sought after toys!
  • More toy sales like the Sainsbury’s half price toy week – that was fantastic
  • Better deals, help with a guide selector by choosing age etc. & possibly telling where you can get the best deal, like a comparison site

Think beyond the price tag…

  • Toys to be advertised towards particular age groups so it was easier to pick out suitable gifts
  • Help with a guide selector by choosing age etc. & possibly telling where you can get the best deal, like a comparison site
  • Stop being stereotypical with toys, such as a craft activity, will be in a pink box or have a girl on the box, so stops me buying it for my son who would love the activity.

Authenticity matters to parents…

  • Be honest about what the toys actually do compared to what they look like they do on the advertisements. I often take my three young children into stores to show them that the sparkles were added for the advert or that the fairies don’t really fly etc.
  • Being more honest with descriptions on TV ads
  • Stop nonsense adverts every 5 minutes showing expensive toys as not everyone can afford them but children do see the ads and get upset.
  • Tell the truth on adverts, they always show young toys being played with by older children. When you buy your child these toys and they get bored after the first 10 minutes it is such a waste.

MumPanel Christmas Shopping survey 2016, 590 respondents, parents with children 0-18 years