• CoBrowse
  • Release: Third of people did online Christmas shopping



    17 million Brits finished Christmas shopping while high street was closed

    A third of people (33%) in the UK, around 17 million1, completed all of their Christmas shopping during November’s lockdown, according to new polling from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). This figure is 75% higher than the proportion of people who had completed their shopping at the same time last year (19% or around 10 million).

    The survey of 2,000 adults suggests that people appear to have felt pressure to get their shopping done earlier than usual, worried that the lockdown would cause problems with the availability of the most sought-after gifts. Almost half of people (47%) admitted that the lockdown has led them to doing more of their shopping online.

    The figures will be a major cause for concern among those retailers who are reliant on sales from their bricks and mortar shops, rather than online. It is also likely to have a negative impact on smaller or specialist retailers who lack the marketing spend to compete with bigger brands online.

    These businesses will have known that they were likely to miss out on shopping as a result of the lockdown, but the higher numbers doing their shopping early will compound the damage.

    There is some hope for high street retailers in the age profile of people who have done their shopping early, as younger shoppers in their 20s and 30s were more likely to have completed their shopping than people in their 40s and 50s who typically have more disposable income. However, there has still been a big increase among people in these older age groups; only 16% of 45-54 year olds had completed their Christmas shopping during November 2019, this has jumped to 28% in 2020.

    Mark Dodds, chair of CIM’s food, drink and agriculture group said:

    “This is serious news for many retailers. The high street was struggling before the pandemic, with many retailers reliant on the critical Christmas period for their sales. If seven million fewer people are going to be hitting the shops this December, then it could be devastating for shops that depend on Christmas footfall.

    “It’s a particular concern for smaller and specialist retailers, who even with a good online offering, will have been drowned out during the lockdown by the marketing spend of the bigger brands.”

    To become a CIM member and access a range of resources to aid your marketing activities click here. Or to join CIM’s Food, Drink and Agriculture (FDA) group to network with fellow marketers click here.


    Notes to editors

    Notes to editors

    1. Source: ONS 2019 mid-year population estimates 51.9m people over 18 in the UK

    For CIM enquiries

    James Delves
    CIM Head of PR and External Engagement

    Corinne Lavictoire  
    PR Executive

    About CIM

    The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) is the world’s leading professional body for marketing, with over 28,000 members worldwide, of which there are over 2,500 Chartered Marketers. CIM’s mission is to create a marketing advantage for the benefit of professionals, business and society with a focus on export, data and skills. CIM believes marketing is the critical factor in driving long term organisational performance.

    CIM provides members and organisations with five key benefits: 

    • Partnership – CIM is a professional and organisational partner to support performance and career development
    • Education – CIM allows individuals and businesses to continuously upskill
    • Information – CIM keeps members up to date with the latest marketing thinking, and keeps organisations at the forefront of practices
    • Connection – CIM provides access to services, expertise and peers
    • Recognition – CIM is the global benchmark of professional competence

    For more than 100 years, CIM has supported, represented and developed marketers, teams, leaders and the profession as a whole. There are 120 CIM study centres in 32 countries and exam centres in 132 countries worldwide. In the last year, over 7,500 people registered at over 230 UK CIM events. Find out more about CIM by visiting www.cim.co.uk.


    More Stories

    • Release: Research finds AI, burnout, inclusivity and falling budgets keeping marketers awake at night



    For all press enquiries, please contact the media team:

    Media Team


    Fact Sheet

    An overview of CIM our history and services.

    Sign up for the latest news

    To receive sector specific news: