Consumers are set to spend approximately £82b across the festive period, states the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which has published a Festive FAQ outlining its predictions for the near future of the national retail sector.

In December 2018, non-food sales made up 56% of sales, and the BRC expects to see a similar pattern this year. The BRC expects sales of non-food items to post a small increase over the festive period, thanks in part to relatively weak comparatives.

Last December, home accessories saw among the highest YoY growth of the non-food categories. The BRC points out that Boxing Day tends to be a busy time for specific non-food products such as furniture, where the post-Christmas sales tend to be more significant than the pre-Christmas sales.

In terms of online penetration, more Christmas gifts than ever are likely to be bought online this year. In the run-up to Christmas 2018 the proportion of non-food spend committed online expanded from 29% in October to more than 33% in November, and more than 31% in December, so the consortium expects new records to be set this year.