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Consumers reveal biggest reasons for avoiding indies at Christmas

The latest research from business technology provider First Data has revealed the top bugbears for consumers shopping on the high street during the festive season. In a survey of 1,000 UK consumers, 42 per cent cited long queues as their biggest pet hate followed by loud Christmas music (13 per cent), not enough till points (11 per cent) and sweltering in-store temperatures (10 per cent).

One in five said they wouldn’t shop at independent retail stores during the festive period because they believe “they are too busy”. However, a third (33 per cent) said in-store technology that speeds up queues would tempt them to do more Christmas shopping on the high street this year.

For those who like to shop at indies over Christmas (59 per cent), personalisation was a key draw. This group cited personalised discounts for products/services (32 per cent), Christmas gift-wrapping (18 per cent) and knowledgeable staff offering personal shopping advice (16 per cent) as solid reasons for choosing indies of multiples.

But despite the festive appreciation for independent retailers, over half of shoppers (52 per cent) believe high street chain stores are better at offering discounts on sales days like Black Friday and Boxing Day – signalling SMEs are missing an opportunity.

Top concerns for Brits when asked about shopping at independent retail stores during the festive season were around value for money, stock availability and payment acceptance. Almost two thirds (61 per cent) of shoppers are worried they won’t get as good a deal in an independent retail store or that it won’t have their item in stock.

When it comes to payments, one in five (21 per cent) UK shoppers expressed their concern at SMEs ability to offer alternative payment methods to cash – admitting the lack of options is a reason why they don’t like to shop at independent retail stores at Christmas time.

Richard Simon, commercial director at First Data, comments: “Christmas shopping can be stressful time and this research highlights that it is essential independent retailers listen to what consumers want in order to maximise their profitability this festive season.

“Busy shoppers are looking for a fast, hassle-free Christmas shopping experience. Convenience is paramount, eliminating long queues and ensuring there is a smooth payment mechanism is vital to offering a quality service.”