Retail Outlook: what's in store for the UK retail sector?

What will 2018 look like for the UK retail sector? And what opportunities exist for retailers to help optimise their performance?

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What’s in store for retailers this Christmas?

2017 has been a challenging year for retailers. Cost pressures have mounted due to a combination of Sterling weakness, cost inflation, business rates increases, the National Living Wage and other staff costs. While consumers have continued to open their wallets, they’ve done so more judiciously, for example diverting their spending towards non-discretionary categories and own label products.

Retailers are now on tenterhooks waiting to see what this Christmas will bring. Orders have been placed, stock is filling stores and warehouses, promotions have been planned, ad campaigns are about to be revealed. But will consumers continue to spend, or will the squeeze in real earnings and expected hike in interest rates come home to roost?

Here are our twelve predictions for the UK retail sector over this festive season. Click here to find out more.

Please get in touch to discuss how the peak trading season might affect your business, and join us around the country in the New Year for our round up of Christmas trading results and outlook for 2018.

1. Retail sales

Retail sales will be resilient this Christmas, weather-permitting

2. Fewer presents

…even though consumers tell us they’ll buy fewer presents

3. Young people

Young people expect to spend more, but on different categories to their parents

4. Inbound tourism

Inbound tourism will benefit destination retailers

5. Black Friday

Black Friday: more noise, for longer, but retailers take control…

6. Early shoppers

…but many of us won’t wait till Black Friday to get our shopping started

7. Last minute shopping

There’ll still be a last minute rush, but stock and logistics will be the key challenge

8. Leisure sector

Will the leisure sector feel the squeeze if retail is resilient?

9. Big ticket sales

Big ticket and electronics under pressure…

10. Retail footfall

…and this could affect retail park footfall. Will there be a high street renaissance?

11. “Want It Now”

The “Want It Now” generation can shop more easily than ever from home

12. Christmas dinner

Christmas is all about dinner… (and the kids)


Explore the data

Click below to find out how consumers responded when asked how they think their disposable income will be in the next 12 months:

View as aggregate

View by gender

View by age

18 - 24
25 - 34
35 - 44
45 - 54
55 - 64

View by affluence




Contact us

Lisa Hooker
UK Leader of Industry for Consumer Markets, PwC United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 7802 882 562

Kien Tan
Director, Retail Strategy, PwC United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 20 721 23910

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