Google survey reveals trend for local Christmas shopping

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Research from Google and YouGov reveals 71% of Brits who celebrate Christmas are willing
to embrace different festivities this year, including shopping more locally. 

While two thirds (66%) of Brits acknowledge that Christmas is likely to be different this year, the research reveals that we’re a resilient nation and are ready to embrace change by creating new traditions.

Google Search Trends data shows that the UK has the highest search interest for Christmas worldwide. Searches for “Christmas shopping 2020” are up 1800% on the same period last year whilst searches for ‘’Shop local online” are up 224% year-on-year, and searches for “shop local” are up 99% year-on-year. 

When asked where they would buy most of their Christmas supplies, 73% of Brits said most or all of their Christmas food shopping would be done locally, 38% said most or all of their Christmas decorations would be bought from local businesses, and 34% said most or all of their Christmas gift purchases would be made locally.

Google Search Trends data supports this as searches for “local Christmas” and “near me” have surged with top searches being: “Christmas dinner delivery” (+182%), “local Christmas decorations” (+181%), “local tree delivery” (+54%), “Christmas tree near me” (+34%) and “Christmas turkey near me” (+26%). 

One tradition central to the festive period is spending time with loved ones. With festive plans expected to be shaped by Covid-19 restrictions, respondents who usually spend Christmas with family and/or friends outside of their household were asked how they would spend Christmas Day if they couldn’t physically be together. Over half (53%) said they plan to do a virtual family gathering via video call. 

Changing plans 

The Christmas shopping period is vital to the health of the UK economy. As Covid-19 restrictions continue to impact how and where we spend, consumers up and down the country are rethinking how they can best support the millions of local businesses which are the heart of our communities. 

According to the Google and YouGov research, 67% of respondents either changed or cancelled holidays this year, 46% postponed birthday parties, 45% didn’t attend some live music, theatre, or comedy performances they’d planned to see, 32% had to rethink hobbies, 21% didn’t attend some live sports and 15% missed out on weddings.

However, resilient Brits saw this as an opportunity to rethink this year in a positive way by embracing new ways of life. 26% have done more exercise this year, and 22% have learned a new hobby or skill. 68% said that the pandemic has changed their outlook or priorities in life, and 57% are now more aware of their mental health than they were before Covid-19.

Going local

Finally, consumers seem to recognise the challenging year many local businesses have faced, with 87% saying local businesses have adapted well or very well to enforced Covid-19 restrictions. With Christmas potentially shaping up to be a very different prospect this year, 28% of consumers said they would meet this change by doing all or most of their Christmas shopping at local businesses, either online, over the phone or in person.

As 51% of local business owners believe online reviews boost business, Google is encouraging people to give a gift worth giving this Christmas by posting a Google review for their favourite local business and joining the #Dearlocal conversation on social.

Google recently launched a major new advertising campaign which sees heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua and actor Sheridan Smith encouraging Brits to support their own favourite local businesses.

Ronan Harris, Managing Director, Google UK, adds:

“Local businesses are the lifeblood of our communities. Shopping for provisions or gifts at local businesses supports this vital sector of the UK economy in the important pre-Christmas trading period.

“We would urge everyone to consider buying what they can locally either in person, over the phone or online, from small businesses which really need their support this Christmas and where possible share a Google review of their experience.”

Chris Price
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