It’s no secret that more and more of us are taking our Christmas shopping online, but despite this, in one survey Amazon only just pips the High Street as the primary place to start the process of gift hunting (30.1% of respondents said Amazon and 30.0% the High Street).
When you start to break these results down however, there a few differences between certain demographics:
- Women are far more likely to do their gift shopping in a physical store (36.7%) while just 23% of men start their search offline in this way
- Of those aged 18 to 24, just 20.8% start their gift search in a physical shop while 43.2% start on Amazon
- For those aged 45 and over a shopping centre is the clear winner
We’ve looked at five of the UK’s leading shopping centres to see what they’re doing to entice visitors in to shop with them this Christmas.
Once Upon a Time at the Bullring
The Bullring has opened a festive tea parlour, bar and event space called Once Upon A Time just in time for the festive period. Serving drinks that glow, sparkle and change colour surrounded by 88,000 fairy lights, this installation is sure to attract Instagrammers aplenty.
The Snow House Bar is back again this year just outside the Bullring, offering a range of cocktails and winter warmer drinks in a fairy-light lit bar area with wooden carved Christmas figures and snow covered trees. Visitors can hire their own igloo to put their feet up after a tiring day of shopping and look out towards St. Martin’s Square.
Plus, the Bullring’s Selfridges has had a Christmas overhaul with a life-size snow globe in-store for photo opportunities, as well as story and selfie-time with Santa.
We always look forward to seeing the bull’s Christmas costume and this year’s certainly did not disappoint.
Christmas Cabins at Westfield London
To attract more shoppers this year, Westfield London is holding their own Christmas Market with Christmas cabins serving up street food and showcasing delightful gifts and artisan produce for those shoppers looking for something different. There’s also a covered bar area featuring Christmas music and seasonal drinks, not forgetting one of London’s largest Christmas trees. Food, drinks and gifts all in one place in a Christmassy setting – what more could shoppers want?
Snow Scenes at intu Trafford Centre
What better way to get in the Christmas spirit than pretending you’re away skiing in a snow-covered village? The Trafford Centre’s Alpine Village offers a range of seasonal treats and drinks that visitors can enjoy while relaxing by the toasty fire pit in a huge tepee, whilst listening to live music and entertainment. Key attractions include a giant tipi bar pop-up, private igloo pods, an Instagram photo wall, and to top it off and increase visitor numbers, the UK’s smallest restaurant.
Festive Fun at Westfield Stratford City
Who doesn’t love a Christmas Festival? Westfield Stratford City held a day of festive-inspired family fun for the first time this year with live entertainment and acts, roaming performers, a magic show, photo booth and plenty of Christmas treats. Held in November, this event helped get visitors in the Christmas spirit early. There were a host of free activities and workshops for kids, including a Ferris wheel, face painting and bauble making. Christmas shopping can be pretty boring for kids, which is tricky for parents, so any activities that can occupy them are surely a win for parents and will encourage them to visit that particular shopping centre.
Christmas Cheer at Bluewater
If an ice rink inside a shopping centre isn’t exciting we don’t know what is. As well as testing out their skating skills, guests can make the most of plenty of selfie spots throughout the shopping centre, including taking festive photos in front of Santa’s sleigh. Another lovely touch is Bluewater’s Giving Tree, which offers guests the chance to donate a gift to local disadvantaged children and spread some Christmas cheer.
Who said Christmas shopping has to be boring? Before you head online this year, why not have a look to see what your local high street or shopping centre is doing for Christmas instead?