Shoppers are set to spend an extra ?7.5bn in the UK?s small shops over the coming month, estimates AXA. With most shoppers saying stress is their overriding emotion during Christmas shopping, they are turning to small retailers for a more enjoyable experience.
British households are set to spend an estimated ?21bn on presents over the Christmas period, and ?5.2bn of this will be spent in small shops. Specialist food and drink retailers are also set to benefit from a ?2.3bn boost from shoppers planning to do their main spend locally.
These figures are likely to be on the conservative side, comments the insurer, as eight in ten Britons say they always exceed their original budget once the festive season is in full swing.
When asked how they feel about Christmas shopping, Britons report an adrenalin rush of stress (65%) and excitement (34%). Crowds are named the main source of anxiety during shopping.
Small shops were voted the most enjoyable place to do Christmas shopping after markets and fairs, with just 23% saying they prefer big stores, and 17% saying Christmas shopping is not enjoyable anywhere.
77% of people surveyed said they would attend a Christmas event if it were organised by a local shop owner. The most popular where those that offer some time out from the hubbub: a quarter would sign up to a Christmas ghost walk and 21% would attend a stargazing night.
Contrary to popular myth, nine in ten shoppers do enjoy hearing Christmas tunes when they are out and about. But, people rated slower songs most highly: The Pogues classic Fairytale of New York was the favourite song to both hear and sing during Christmas karaoke, followed by White Christmas. Least popular is Mariah Carey?s upbeat All I Want for Christmas Is You.
?Christmas shopping can be magical and exciting, but everyone has experienced that feeling of overload, especially when scouring noisy shopping centres for last minute presents,? commented Darrell Sansom, managing director at AXA Business Insurance, a leading insurer of independent retailers.
?Small shops can offer an antidote to the manic buying seen elsewhere. Christmas markets have taken off massively in recent years, and people are very open to community events at this time of year. Small shops can benefit by organising things like walks, choir services and family events, especially those that put a bit of magic and mystery back.
?Just make sure that any extra stock and temporary staff are all covered by your insurance policy. A good policy will offer a stock uplift at this time of year, and temporary staff should automatically be covered for a certain number of days per year under your employers? liability policy. It?s a good idea to check your policy terms and contact your insurer if there are any gaps.?
AXA Business Insurance automatically increases stock cover on its policies by 30% during the months November and December. Employers? liability policies offer 50 days cover for temporary staff each year and can be extended.