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The trends shaping Christmas 2019


  • Luxury gifting: Perfume sets and jewellery topping the 2019 presents leaderboard
  • Movie motivation: Blockbuster movies driving F&B and boosting themed merchandise sales
  • Top toys: LEGO Batmobile and L.O.L Surprise! dolls
  • Engaging experiences: Giant Christmas puddings, ice-skating, and Star Wars characters entertaining shoppers across the UK
  • Christmas shopping started early:
    • Footfall up 7.1% year-on-year over Black Friday weekend at Hammerson’s flagship destinations (23 Nov – 25 Nov)
    • Approximately 4.5m visitors a week expected through December
    • Around 1.1 visitors expected on ‘Super Saturday’ (21 Dec)

With Christmas only 4 days away, Hammerson can reveal the gifts most likely to be waiting under the nation’s Christmas Trees on 25th December.

Luxury scents, sparkle and winter warmers for adults

For grown-ups, perfume sets are flying off the shelves, particularly in Reading and Aberdeen, while jewellery from the likes of Pandora and Beaverbrooks is likely to be waiting under the trees of households in Bristol, North London, Glasgow, and Leicester. Lots of customers are trading up for gifts, with brands like Penhaligons in Victoria Leeds seeing increased demand as consumers search for a unique gift. With the UK looking ahead to a chilly Christmas, outerwear and boots are selling well across the portfolio, with Trespass and The North Face driving footfall in Highcross (Leicester), and Joules, Tommy Hilfiger and Office trading well in Bullring (Birmingham).

LEGO, L.O.L, and Frozen for children

When it comes to kids, children in Glasgow are again asking for L.O.L Surprise! Dolls, while Santa has clearly received a lot of requests from children in Birmingham and Southampton for LEGO Batmobile toys. LEGO only opened two stores in the UK this year, both of which were in Hammerson destinations (Westquay and Bullring).

With the release of Frozen 2, Disney merchandise is flying off the shelves across the portfolio, but particularly in Highcross and Bullring. The strong slate of Christmas movie releases are also driving footfall to restaurants and bars, especially in the Oracle (Reading), Union Square (Aberdeen), and Westquay (Southampton). A number of F&B brands have added a festive twist to their menus, including Riksha (Union Square), Leon and Nando’s.

Black Friday 2019

It’s clear that many people started their Christmas shopping over the Black Friday weekend, as footfall across Hammerson’s flagship destinations was up 7.1% year-on-year from 23rd to 25th November, with footfall at some locations up by over 10%. Across its portfolio as a whole, Hammerson is expecting to welcome around 4.5m visitors a week through the doors of its flagship destinations throughout December, and as many as 1.1m people are expected to hit the shops on ‘Super Saturday’ (21 Dec).

Making Christmas special

Hammerson’s flagship destinations are working hard to make this Christmas extra special. The team at Bullring & Grand Central have built a special, larger-than-life “Christmas Pudding” on the station concourse which gives shoppers the chance to win special prizes, while leading experts in multi-experience design Bompas & Parr have unveiled their latest creation, Once Upon a Time in Birmingham, at the destination. Santa himself has visited Dundrum (Dublin), Cabot Circus (Bristol) and Centrale, (Croydon), and at Westquay (Southampton), SKATE has returned for another year, with the beautiful 900 sq m ice rink open every day through December.

In a break with the usual festive fare, the Oracle’s charity partner Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Charity used the force to bring Star Wars characters to the destination, enabling consumers in Reading to come face to face with their heroes. Finally, Brent Cross has launched its Giving Tree again this year, which encourages shoppers to buy a gift for a local child; so far, generous customers have donated 840 gifts.

Mark Bourgeois, Managing Director UK & Ireland, said: “Consumers all over the UK and Ireland are determined to make this Christmas special. Whether its tracking down that unique fragrance or dashing for the LEGO Batmobile, customers are going the extra mile to get the perfect present. It’s clear that for many people, the only way to make sure a gift is just right is by buying it in-store. Nothing beats seeing something with your own eyes, and that’s reflected in our footfall numbers.”

“As they have been all year, consumers are looking for an experience when they visit our destinations, even when sorting out their Christmas shopping. Increasingly, people are combining a visit to the shops with a meal, trip to the cinema, or a skate. As we look to 2020, we are committed to both stepping up the brand mix in our destinations, and to introducing even more exciting, independent F&B brands, as well as the latest leisure concepts.”