Christmas sales generated by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) jumped almost a quarter compared to 2014, a study has shown. Software provider Vend showed that smaller retailers fared better than the big high street chains over the festive period.
A survey of 500 SMEs conducted by Vend showed that sales between Black Friday and the second weekend of January jumped by 24% in 2015-16 compared to 2014-15. The slump after Christmas day was bigger, however, with a 41% fall between Boxing Day and the second weekend of January from pre-Christmas sales. In 2014, the dip after Christmas was 34%.
The research showed that those taking to SMEs to do their shopping also left it to the last possible moment, with a peak in sales detected on 23 December. Saturday 9 January 2016 and Wednesday 23 December 2015 were among the days that saw biggest discounts.
The strong performance by SMEs is in stark contrast with overall retail sales, which were almost flat over the Christmas period, according to the British Retail Consortium. On a like-for-like basis, UK retail sales inched up 0.1% compared with the Christmas period in 2014, while total sales were up 1%, the same growth as last year.
The Christmas sales numbers confirm that shoppers avoid the high street more often, visiting independent shops increasingly. According to research conducted by market researcher the Leadership Factor for delivery company Hermes, more than half of UK adults go to independent shops at least once a week.
The rise of the indie shops is led by young people in the UK. The study found that a third of 14-18-year-olds actively choose independent shops over big chains.