We all have our own ideas about what makes the best Christmas shopping experience. It might be finding plenty of bargains, making a day of it and having lunch as well, being surrounded by sparkly decorations and listening to festive music as we browse, or being immersed in an Aladdin’s cave of designer brands.
According to a survey, British consumers adore Christmas shopping. A survey of 2,000 shoppers by Intu revealed that we would be dedicating, on average, 18 hours to shopping in the last couple of weeks before Christmas.
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Most people agreed that the best shopping trips didn’t start too early – 11am was considered a good time. They involved visiting an average of nine stores over a four-hour period. This normally resulted in the purchase of 11 items and the research of another 11, with a view to possibly buying them later.
While a quarter of us tend to buy online, 50% of shoppers still say they prefer to buy perfumes, jewellery and clothes in high street stores, so they can check them out in person.
Most people say that a wide range of gift items is important, so they can buy something for all the family on one trip – in particular fashion items for young female family members and tech for male friends and relatives. Good customer service is vital, and the prices are very important to many of us too.
A massive 87% of us enjoy a meal while out Christmas shopping; 72% prefer shopping with family or friends rather than alone; 70% of us will visit a festive market and 55% of us enjoy seeing the Christmas lights and decorations, or will stop to listen to carol singers.
Capturing the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Christmas, the whole rounded experience seems to be most people’s idea of what festive shopping is all about. So, which are the five best cities for Christmas shopping?
The historic city of York is a popular destination for Christmas shoppers. It boasts a very compact centre, where many wonderful shops can be easily accessed without having to walk for miles. Historic areas, such as Minster and The Shambles, have plenty of high-end retail stores and designer boutiques. There’s even a Christmas Angels shop on Low Petergate to put you in a festive mood, while bargain-hunters can visit the designer outlet just outside the city centre.
Immerse yourself in Manchester city centre. As one of the most vibrant Christmas shopping areas in the north west of England, where you will find an abundance of designer outlets and chain stores in the centre, all this is complemented by the mighty Trafford Centre, just outside the older part of the city – one of the best shopping malls in the UK, with its huge Christmas tree, decorations and sparkling shop windows. It’s easily a place where you can entertain yourself for a full day of Christmas shopping, with plenty of places to eat.
The capital is undoubtedly one of the best places to be before Christmas, with its hundreds of brightly-lit department stores, amazing window displays, a multitude of smaller festive shops, designer stores and unique gift ideas at the Christmas markets. With festive atmosphere in abundance, London has around seven major Christmas markets, including Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and the Southbank Centre Winter Market, featuring world cuisine and a circus! It’s well worth a trip to the capital for the markets alone.
Princes Street in Edinburgh is one of the most well-known high streets in the UK, with many fashion outlets and department stores. Cockburn Street is another popular destination, thanks to its alternative boutiques, where you can pick up an unusual gift for the person who has everything. George Street is awash with restaurants and bars where you can take a break from Christmas shopping. You could make a whole weekend of it and visit some of the sights, such as Edinburgh Castle, while you’re there.
If you’re feeling adventurous and fancy a Christmas shopping trip away from the UK, Paris is the place to be. It offers world-famous fashion boutiques, with Le Marais being a popular destination for designer brands and Boulevard Saint-Germain being a haven for high street retail stores that British shoppers will love. You may even decide to buy yourself a Christmas gift when you see the huge array and diversity of city centre retailers! It will take you several days at least to see all the sights Paris has to offer this Christmas, so a short break could be in order!
If Christmas shopping has been the highlight (or low point) of your festive preparations so far, share your views on your recent experiences with others on Psydro’s unique reviews platform, where there are plenty of categories to choose from.
You can also enter Psydro’s exciting festive competition, where you’ll have the chance to win one of 75 Love2Shop vouchers to spend at a number of top outlets, such as TK Maxx, Argos, Debenhams, Next, Starbucks, HMV and Topshop, to name but a few!
We’ll be picking the winners at random on 31st December 2018, so you’ll be able to spend your vouchers in the January sales, if you’re lucky enough to win.
The Psydro team would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!