The festive season is set to look a little different this year, but the Christmas spirit remains despite a second lockdown in England and restrictions across the UK, as gift-givers look for ways to spread comfort and joy with homemade gifts and food this Christmas.
Waitrose and John Lewis anticipate this year will see their strongest ever sales of food and handmade gifts as customers look for ways to connect with loved ones they might not be able to share the festivities with.
In research carried out by Waitrose, 42% of people are planning to be more creative with homemade gifts this year than previous years and 28% of people are planning to spend less on more thoughtful gifts than they usually would.
Reflecting this trend for homemade hampers are sales of gift food at Waitrose. Panettone sales are already up by 25% versus last year, gift crates for making your own hampers are up 22%, and Christmas confectionery has seen sweeter sales than usual, with novelty chocolates perfect for presents up 35% and selection boxes up 9%.
On Waitrose.com searches for food gifts are up 117% and make your own hamper searches are up by 20%.
With 31% of people planning to order Christmas gifts online to be delivered to friends and family when they wouldn’t usually, it’s no surprise that hamper searches on Waitrose.com are up by an astonishing 818% as online shoppers look to send their Christmas wishes with gifts of food.
Sales of Waitrose and John Lewis hampers are up 273% week to date versus last year and gift food at John Lewis is also seeing record sales up 40% last week. Baking and decorating kits at John Lewis are seeing significant increases as bakers get crafty in the kitchen with gingerbread gifts, up 65%.
Recipe searches for edible gifts are also proving incredibly popular, with visits to the Waitrose.com edible gifts page up 68% compared to the same time last year, indicating that people are looking for heartfelt, inexpensive gifts that have a homemade feel.
Waitrose & Partners Food Editor, Alison Oakervee said, “Social distancing and restrictions on meeting family and friends has seen people looking to food to show they care.
'As we’ve all been physically separated, we’ve connected with others through a shared love of food - baking for loved ones, making meals for neighbours or purchasing food gifts - a trend we expect to only grow over the Christmas season.
“Kindness never goes out of fashion and our customers are looking for ways to replicate that sense of kindness we’ve seen throughout 2020 this Christmas.
'51% of people we surveyed said they will be giving gifts to neighbours and people in the community for the first time and food or homemade presents are thoughtful ways to show appreciation and affection for others in what has been a difficult year.”