Retail sales this December are forecast to rise by 4% year-on-year, with consumers expected to spend £42.8bn – £1.6bn more than Christmas last year.
The research – released by business advisory firm Deloitte – also found online retail sales are expected to grow by more than a fifth (21%) from 2015, with values likely to surpass £7bn for the first time – a considerable increase from £5.8bn last year.
As a result, December’s online retail sales will account for three-quarters (74%) of total retail sales growth year-on-year.
According to another piece of research from Deloitte, online purchasing (48%) has overtaken in-store purchasing (45%) for the first time, and this trend is expected to continue during the festive period.
The firm said retailers are likely to benefit from the fact that Christmas Day falls on a Sunday this year, meaning retailers will benefit from Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday as well as Boxing Day falling on a Monday – meaning a full-day of trading hours.
Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte, said: “Retailers can expect to receive more than a lump of coal in their stockings this Christmas.
“Sales prospects for the golden quarter are looking good for the UK retail industry, who will feel an uplift following last year’s disappointing November and December.
“Events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday have dragged forward consumers’ Christmas spending into the end of November. However, there are a number of other factors present that will give a boost to retail sales over the festive period. Christmas on a Sunday will maximise the opportunity for consumers to grab a bargain in the sales that follow.”
He added the value of sterling means that consumers are more likely to stay in the UK during the Christmas break, while, at the same time, tourists’ buying power is greater in the luxury sector.