If you are worried about a Covid-19 lockdown extending into December, then you will be joining thousands of others who have begun Christmas stockpiling.
Retailers say shoppers are buying their Christmas dinners up to two months early this year – with some retailers recording festive food sales. Among them are:
- Waitrose: Christmas food sales have rocketed by 290%
- Iceland: Retailer is selling more than 4,000 frozen turkeys every week
Among the most popular items Waitrose says its customers are snapping up are Panettone and Christmas puddings.
Strong sales of turkey crowns
Waitrose also reports that they are seeing strong sales of turkey crowns and small birds for Christmas dinner tables this year – and that customers are probably responding to the possibility of further lockdown restrictions.
Indeed, Christmas stockpiling has seen orders for turkey crowns at Waitrose have risen by 228% compared with last year, while their premium bronze turkey crowns have seen orders rise by 242%.
The top choice with customers is for the Waitrose free range bronze turkey with orders rocketing by 550%.
Also, experts are saying that many more first-time cooks are looking to deliver Christmas dinner in December.
Customers are ‘getting ahead’
Marks & Spencer‘s also says that it appears that customers are ‘getting ahead’ with their festive shopping, and they have already seen a 40% uplift in advent calendar sales.
To help underline the trend in rising Christmas food shopping, Waitrose.com has revealed what people have been searching for between 1 August to the end of October, compared with 2019. They include:
- Christmas dinner, searches grew by 284%
- Roast potatoes, queries grew by 162%
- Yorkshire puddings, searches rose by 126%
The site also says that queries for beef dripping grew by 24%, and for goose fat by 10%.
And since Covid-19 restrictions may see Christmas dinner guest numbers being reduced to just six people, John Lewis says there’s been a big spike in demand for those wanting to have their kitchen improved for the festivities.
They say that kitchen category sales have risen by 47% across their department stores.
Christmas delivery slots
However, there’s another issue for festive shoppers to deal with – and that is news that Christmas delivery slots have been filling up quickly.
Now retailers are warning that there could be Christmas chaos because they may not meet the huge demand for their online deliveries in 2020.
One reason for this is that more of us are turning to online shopping under the latest national lockdown.
And despite hiring thousands of seasonal workers to help increase the number of online delivery slots, the big surge in demand means there are still problems.
Throughout November, supermarkets are releasing their Christmas delivery slots – and for those who buy an annual pass, they may get early access.
It has also been revealed that key dates for Asda’s Christmas food and drink delivery slots from December 20 to the 24th have already been filled in most areas for 2020.
Rise in online sales during the festivities
This growing popularity has been revealed by IMRG, the online retailers’ industry body, who say that shops are facing a 30% rise in online sales during the festivities – and this will rise to 50% if the shops remain closed.
Other retailers are now warning shoppers to do their shopping as early as possible, and this includes Tesco who say that shoppers need to be prepared to avoid ‘festive chaos’.
Why not celebrate Christmas in summer?
Meanwhile, scientists are suggesting that we move Christmas celebrations from December and have them in summer instead.
They say this will help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.
This is one of the proposals for Christmas from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) in documents they have released.
They highlight that the festive season celebrations could be very different in 2020 and that the government needs to put together a ‘positive strategy’ for people to follow ‘infection control behaviours’.
The paper also points out that a less risky alternative from a clampdown on social interactions could mean carrying out activities at a later date.
For example, they say people can plan a summer family get-together as a replacement for not meeting for Christmas.