UK online sales to grow 2.7% in Christmas shopping season -Adobe report

LONDON (Reuters) – UK online sales in the Christmas trading season are expected to rise 2.7% from a year earlier despite ongoing pressures on the cost of living, according to a report from Adobe Analytics published on Wednesday.

UK shoppers will spend 24.1 billion pounds ($29.6 billion) online in the Nov. 1 to Dec. 31 period, the report said, up from 23.5 billion pounds in the same period in 2022.

Contrary to a report from Accenture on Monday, Adobe said UK consumers would make greater use of discounts on offer during the Nov. 24 to 27 “Cyber Weekend”, forecasting sales would rise 3.7% to 3.2 billion pounds, with 1.05 billion pounds spent on Black Friday (Nov. 24), up 4.5%.

Adobe said UK consumers would also make more use of “Buy Now, Pay Later” (BNPL) services to spread the cost of gift buying. Sales through these schemes are seen up 8.8% to 3.7 billion pounds in the Christmas season.

“After a tough 2023 for the sector, retailers can feel optimistic about this year’s golden quarter,” Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights, said.

Adobe’s report strikes a more optimistic tone than earlier data published by Deloitte and PwC.

Despite UK households having to deal with the biggest two-year fall in living standards since comparable records started in the 1950s, consumer demand has generally held up so far this year.

However, a survey published by Barclays on Tuesday showed consumer spending grew at the slowest pace in more than a year last month, reflecting concerns over the cost of living.

Countering that, major retailers Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Next and Primark have all issued upbeat comments on the Christmas outlook.

Last month, Adobe forecast online sales during the U.S. holiday season were expected to rise 4.8% from a year earlier.

But overall U.S. holiday sales are expected to rise at the slowest pace in five years, data from the National Retail Federation said.

($1 = 0.8137 pounds)

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Bernadette Baum)