Where will you be shopping this Christmas?
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British retailer, Primark, has announced that they won’t be increasing the prices of their autumn/winter range, despite them feeling (like everyone else) the impact of rising energy bills, a cost-of-living crisis, and a looming recession.
In a bid to keep their central heating off, people have been buying hooded blankets, thermal leggings, scarves, and thick jumpers. Given their already-cheap prices, and their promise to keep them low this winter, Primark’s sales will undoubtedly increase.
The whole country is tightening its belt. This Christmas, people will be cutting back in every area—from the amount of presents they’d usually buy, to a smaller turkey on the dinner table, or foregoing the branded sherry in favour of something cheaper.
In September, John Lewis reported seeing a ‘moments economy’, as prices soared and as news of the cost-of-living crisis continued to emerge. Instead of booking luxurious holidays, or spending huge amounts of money on extravagant purchases, people spent smaller amounts on day-to-day activities, like going out to meet a friend for coffee or enjoying a takeaway with the family. Airline cancellations plagued news channels at the beginning of the year, which might remain in people’s minds if they’re considering forking out a few thousand pounds on a holiday a year from now. In comparison, they can get instant gratification from visiting their local coffee shop, which will only cost them a few quid. With so much uncertainty in the world and turmoil around every corner, people are reassessing how they spend their time.
Primark has made a wise marketing decision to absorb their increased energy bills. Maintaining their prices will guarantee a rapport with their customers, which will result in more sales—and bring them more money in the long run. Of course, not every retailer can afford to do this, especially small businesses and independent stores; this Christmas could see a significant dip in their sales at a time of year when they desperately need revenue.
Research shows that grocery prices are ‘14.7% higher than a year ago in October’. Shoppers will have to pay ‘roughly £682 extra a year for food at the supermarket if they do not switch to cheaper items or buy less’. However, some families across Britain were already purchasing the cheapest items; they will starve if they cut back any more. The worst may be yet to come, though, with prices threatening to rise even further; people on the breadline will be forced to choose between putting food on the table and heating their homes.
The last couple of Christmases have been a bit of a damp squib. During the festive periods of 2020 and 2021, families were unable to see each other and spend time together, and many Christmas events and traditions had to be cancelled. Covid does not appear to be sweeping through the streets like it did in previous years, but its effects can still be felt. For example, local Christmas light switch-ons are being cancelled all over the UK, because of increased energy prices and the fragile economy the pandemic left in its wake. Christmas 2022, therefore, may not prove the magical festive celebration we dreamed of when Covid was at its peak. And God only knows what state the country will be in this time next year.