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Retailers in the UK must respond to shifting consumer attitudes by offering a range of low-price personalised gifting options to drive trade in the long-suffering wedding gift market, according to GlobalData.
A fall in marriage rates coupled with the rising popularity of gifting cash has significantly impacted sales. According to recent consumer data from GlobalData, there has been a 10.0 percentage point drop in the proportion of shoppers who bought wedding/engagement gifts over the past 12 months.
As fewer Brits chose to marry, the demand for these gifts has inevitably fallen, and over the last 12 months only 25.5 per cent of consumers purchased in this category, down from 35.5 per cent the previous year.
Eleanor Parr, retail analyst at GlobalData says, 'Squeezed household budgets have led to some consumers feeling they cannot afford to marry, with many choosing to prioritise purchasing property over having their dream wedding day. Moreover, many cash-strapped shoppers are attempting to cut back on discretionary spend, rather than splurging on luxury items, with value for money the most important driver for wedding and engagement gift shoppers, driving down average spend in the market.'
To make matters worse for retailers, there is a growing trend towards brides and grooms requesting cash from guests instead of traditional homewares, with money the most popular gift over the last 12 months; 28.0 per cent of shoppers gave money for weddings/engagements gifts.
Parr says, 'This is as a result of the growing number of consumers co-habiting before marriage, meaning they do not require a full set of homewares to kit out their marital home. Instead, many couples are requesting a cash contribution towards a honeymoon or even a charity.'
Players that offer sleek wedding gift reservation services online, such as John Lewis and Amazon, will be better protected from the decline in wedding gifting, as 10.8 per cent of shoppers still research gifts by viewing the recipient’s online gift list.
Parr concludes, 'Retailers must also capitalise on small gifts to encourage shoppers to purchase a physical present in addition to cash gifts, such as personalised prints, candles or other lower-value homewares.
'Gifting retailers such as Oliver Bonas and Joy should take inspiration from online pureplay notonthehighstreet.com, which offers specific personalised wedding and engagement gifts, with many options retailing for under £30, appealing to shoppers looking for low -priced but sentimental presents.'