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Christmas retail sales predicted to fall by 3% to £82.2bn as cost of living crisis deepens

Tom Bottomley
31 October 2022

UK shoppers are set to spend £82.2bn this Christmas, a decline of 3% (£2.51bn) compared with last year when the total spend was £84.7bn, as the cost of living crisis takes a tighter hold on consumer finances.

Christmas sales are predicted to fall below pre-pandemic levels (£83.1bn in 2019), however, sales are not expected to plummet to the levels seen during Christmas 2020, during the peak of the pandemic (£79.7bn), according to the annual ‘Shopping for Christmas Report’ from VoucherCodes.

The report, which is now in its tenth year, forecasts retail sales and analyses consumer spending habits over the main Christmas shopping period – the six weeks leading up to Christmas.

In unwelcome news for retailers who rely heavily on gifting during the so called “golden quarter”, sales of Christmas gifts are set to be hit the most of any category, with a -6.8% decline in gift spend compared to 2021 (£11.59bn v £12.44bn).

Consumer electronics will bear the brunt of the gift spend decline at -15.9%, followed by clothing and footwear with a decline of -12.1%, and jewellery at -11.1%. Cosmetics are predicted to see a much smaller drop of -1.2% compared to Christmas 2021.

Maureen McDonagh, Managing Director at, said: “The cost of living crisis will hit retail sales hard this Christmas period and, unfortunately for clothing and footwear retailers, this category is forecast to be one of the worst hit by consumers cutting back, only second to electricals.

“With families facing a difficult winter as the cost of living crisis continues to deepen, it’s unsurprising that consumers are prioritising spending on food, drink and toys over new clothing and footwear as they prepare for a family-focused Christmas.

“As consumers look to spread the cost of Christmas and save where possible, more than ever, brands now need to offer proven value to customers. Offering market-leading discounts early in the shopping season as well as other shopper incentives is just one of a few key ways clothing and footwear retailers can build trust this Christmas season and encourage potential customers to shop with them.”

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