When will customers start Christmas shopping?

When will customers start Christmas shopping?

It should come as no surprise that the timeframe in which some Brits do their Christmas shopping would bring others to despair – heading out on Christmas Eve after they finish work to begin the process. Others, meanwhile, who we’ll label the uber-prepared, start their Christmas shopping as soon as the decorations are down from the year before. The question is, is there a right time to buy?  

Here, with Gap, we delve into some advice on when customers are most likely to start their Christmas shopping.

When are people doing Christmas shopping now?

According to Google trends data from 2017 to 2021, there is a steady increase in searches for the keyword ‘Christmas gifts’ from August to December – suggesting that this is when people start thinking about the occasion and present buying. Naturally, most searches occur in December.

That said, when analysing Google Analytics, it is clear to see that the number of people who’re thinking about things earlier is growing. The number of searches for the phrase ‘Christmas gift ideas’ in August 2018 was 154,220, in 2019 it was 176,530, in 2020 it was 261,370, and in 2021 there was 271,780.


Some experts propose that the reason for starting to shop earlier comes after the recession as people want to ensure that they are prepared for Christmas and may be budgeting each month for gifts.

However, there is also ‘Super Saturday’, or ‘Panic Saturday’ as it is otherwise known, when people flock to the shops the Saturday before Christmas to get last-minute shopping in. Did you know that in in 2012, there was a reported 6.7 million Britons who left their gift purchasing until 24th December? Nowadays, it appears that consumers are starting to take heed from government advice, telling them not to leave it to the last minute, particularly with this year’s delivery delays!

When are the deals?

Cyber Monday

Much like Black Friday, Cyber Monday is a recent invention, where consumers can take the chance to grab themselves a bargain online. It falls on Monday 29th November, so shoppers have it highlighted on their calendars. A host of high street retailers and big brands alongside online sellers engage with the concept with low prices offered across entire ranges and in some cases, websites as a whole. Everyone will be keeping their eyes peeled for big discounts on some of their favourite lines!

Black Friday

This year, Black Friday will fall on the 26th November. The well-known event originated from the US and was introduced to the UK by online retail giant Amazon.


The table above from finder.com looks at how much UK customers spent over Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2019, 2020, and the expected spend in 2021.

According to the report, only 33% of British adults intend to splash the cash on Black Friday this year – in the past, massive reductions on tech items like laptops, tablets, and TVs have resulted in breakouts of fighting in certain stores.

This retail event, however, offers great opportunities to grab a bargain on a number of Christmas presents or even just gifts for oneself, creating a great opportunity for retailers!

Panic Saturday

Back in 2018, Super Saturday (as it is sometimes known) pulled in a whopping £1.4 billion sales opportunity for UK retailers and encouraged a high street footfall surge of 45% on the daily average. As the government has warned, however, it might be playing a risky game to leave shopping until the 18th December this year!

January sales

For any shoppers with birthdays coming, or those wanting to get off the mark quickly for Christmas 2022, the January sales are a great opportunity to bag a nice deal on a line that hasn’t shifted over the festive period, meaning peak will extend into 2022 for retailers!

When should people start shopping?

Our top tips for shoppers…

Utilise the opportunity presented by Black Friday and Cyber Monday – you’re likely to be able to get something you want for yourself or for a relative at a heavily discounted price; however, have a fair idea of what you’re after because, as we’ve mentioned, some brands will discount everything on their websites, causing a huge surge of customers snapping up products in minutes. So if you already know you want girl’s leggings, go straight for that!

Secondly, despite the fact next Christmas is a heck of a long way away, heading out to the January sales can definitely help with another holiday – what about Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, or even a birthday?

Finally, we know you’re busy, but, if you can, avoid panic Saturday, otherwise, we advise heading out early doors!

For retailers, being prepared for the increase in footfall and website visits will be key to providing an excellent customer experience.