Emily Viberg
Emily Viberg is a Retail Analyst at Mintel. She researches and writes reports on seasonal shopping.

With Christmas shopping in full swing, retailers are welcoming people back into stores after the difficulties of last Christmas. Amidst the continuing uncertainty of the pandemic and reports on stock shortages, people are wanting to get their Christmas shopping in early. Below we highlight some of the innovative gift services we are seeing in London’s Oxford Street which will appeal to shoppers up and down the UK who want to make this Christmas extra special for family and loved ones.

Selfridges hosts its first pre-loved toys collection

Selfridges has launched a second-hand toy shop ahead of Christmas to help shoppers buy more mindfully this year. The pop-up is part of the retailer’s wider sustainability strategy ‘Project Earth’ which aims to explore more circular retail models. The pop-up is launched in collaboration with charity The TOY Project where customers can donate unwanted toys. It is perfect for those shoppers who are extra mindful of the waste Christmas gifts buying can lead to. In the past we have seen people cut back on gift wrapping and last year over six in ten  agreed that it was important to cut back on ‘throwaway’ stocking filler presents. 

Source: Mintel

Lush helping shoppers add a personal touch to gifts

At Lush’s Oxford Street store shoppers can personalise their very own Snow Fairy Body Spray. The service encourages customers to add a personal touch to gifts this year and taps into Mintel Trend Driver Value, where we see consumers looking to purchase products that offer a more emotional or meaningful transaction.

The store also recently underwent a major revamp to bring home some of its services across the world including its Fresh & Flowers concept, selling locally grown flowers, which was first rolled out in Paris two years ago and a Lush Perfume Library as seen in Florence. 

Lush personalisation service for its NSow Fairy range

Source: Lush

Back by popular demand is also Lush’s sushi conveyor belt of bath bombs, soaps and more. Customers can snap up the latest bath bombs rom Lush’s Christmas 2021 range! 

Lush conveyor belt of bath bombs

Source: Mintel

The Body Shop reminds people to give back this Christmas

At its activist corner, The Body Shop is helping customers share festive messages to loved ones on its ‘bulletin board of love’.  The retailer is donating 5p from every purchase of its Christmas gift range to The Honeypot Children’s Charity and Family Carers Ireland charity. This taps into shoppers’ interest in ethical gifting – in fact, a fifth of shoppers bought more charitable gifts than the year before, according to our Christmas Gift Buying Report 2020.

The Body Shop’s concept corner calling customers to action 

Source: Mintel

What we think

Despite the new Omicron variant headlining news, people will be looking forward to celebrating Christmas out of lockdown and will be treating themselves and loved ones to an extra special Christmas. This means retailers who are focusing on making gifting personal will stand out while a focus on goodwill and charity will also appeal to shoppers’ heightened sense of community. 

However, with new in-store COVID restrictions 61% of consumers say they plan to limit their time in crowded areas before seeing family for Christmas. So retailers need to highlight how they are making shopping in-store safe for customers worried about catching the virus.