Research - 12.12.2012 - 00:00 

Christmas shopping abroad

Shopping tourism is worrying the Swiss retail trade: one in three people do their shopping abroad. This has been revealed by a survey conducted by the IRM-HSG.<br/>


12 December 2012. Shopping tourism is worrying the Swiss retail trade again this year: one in three people do their shopping abroad. Many retail sectors have high expectations of the Christmas business. How much money consumers want to spend on Christmas presents this year, what products appear on their wish lists and where they most like to do their shopping: these are questions that were asked by the Institute of Retail Management (IRM-HSG). The survey was conducted among just under 2,000 shoppers in pedestrian precincts in German- and French-speaking Switzerland.

As the authors of the study, Dr. Maximilian Weber and Prof. Dr. Thomas Rudolph observed, consumers are planning to slightly increase their spending on Christmas presents. Whereas last year, shoppers indicated that they would spend an average of CHF 587 on presents, they are planning expenses in the amount of an average of CHF 611 this year. The older consumers are, the more money they spend on Christmas presents. Whether this additional expenditure will be reflected in higher turnover figures for domestic retailers, however, remains to be seen, for just under a third of consumers are planning to buy some Christmas presents abroad.

Changed Christmas wishes
The most popular wishes for this year’s Christmas are clothes and shoes (26.7%), mobility and travelling (21.2%), as well as books (21.1%). In comparison with last year, consumers’ preferences have changed a great deal. “The biggest increase was registered with sports goods,” says author Maximilian Weber. Whereas last year, 11.2% of consumers wished to be given sports goods for Christmas, this year’s percentage is 17.3%. Clothes and shoes (+3.5%) have also become more important on wish lists. Consumer electronics (-7.6%) and mobility and travelling (-5.8%), however, reveal a downward trend on the wish lists.

At the same time, the survey shows that 7% of consumers still do not know what they want to be given for Christmas. With people’s increasing age, their wishes for Christmas become less specific. This is a pointer to turnover opportunities: retailers can crank up business by means of targeted inspiration. The Institute of Retail Management had a particularly close look at customer inspiration. “There is a great success potential for the local retail trade, particularly with regard to food, sports goods, consumer electronics and clothes,” says Weber.

Fewer purchases on the internet
Consumers prefer to buy their Christmas presents in city centres (60.1%) and shopping centres (55.5%). In comparison with last year, both shopping destinations – but the city centres in particular – have gained in importance. Thus in 2011, 53.1% still indicated that they did their shopping in the stationary trade of city centres. Shopping on the internet, however, has become distinctly less attractive. Whereas in the preceding year, 37.9% of consumers stated that they preferred to buy their Christmas presents on the internet, only 25.2% intend to do their Christmas shopping online.

Picture: Photocase / Tilla Eulenspiegel

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