By Daniel Hunter

Consumer confidence drives spending and shoppers have far more reasons to be cheerful this year. The economic news is more positive; the housing market is moving with further initiatives being introduced to encourage buying; job creation is outpacing cuts; and though PPI refunds and the Post Office float do not affect everyone they have a further halo effect of boosting the view that at last things are getting better.

“On top of all this,” Maureen Hinton, research director at Verdict adds “during the recession there has been a baby boom which means one of the prime targets for Christmas spending, kids, is growing”.

Spending to grow to £88bn in Q4, an increase of £2bn as non-food sectors recover

Food is the main focus for Christmas spending but this year Verdict forecasts non-food sectors will recover, including some growth in the home related sectors of homewares, furniture, DIY and gardening after years of declines. Though food continues to be mainly driven by inflation (of its 3.8% growth, 2.9% will be from price inflation) volume growth will increase.

Hinton adds “though consumers will still be looking for value and discounting will continue to be rife in non-food sectors, there will be an increase in volumes this year, which will boost their totall sales by £600m.” Spending in Q4 2013 will reach £88.4bn, (£52.0bn on non-food and £36.4bn on food & grocery) an increase of 2.2% on 2012 and an extra £1.95bn for retailers to fight over.

Mad Monday as click & collect ensures online is the star channel, producint sales of £11.6bn and growth +12%

Patrick O’Brien, principal analyst at Verdict says “Shoppers have greater confidence in online retailing now and are prepared to leave holiday purchases right up until just before Christmas. This is supported by the rise of click & collect services, which will be much more in evidence this year. Retailers have rushed to develop and market their click & collect services leaving shoppers the convenience of collecting purchases in store instead of having to ensure they are at home at the right time.

Verdict predicts consumers will leave spending to the last minute knowing they are in control of collecting their online purchases leading to Monday December 23rd being one of the busiest for online deliveries.

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