What impact will a Christmas lockdown have on the sales of age-restricted goods online?

For many retailers in the UK, the Christmas period is one of the busiest times of year. However, this year has been slightly different with many stores forced to close their doors in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

The new 3-tier system in England might permit stores to open for most of December but there are still areas in the UK with tighter restrictions than others in the lead-up to Christmas. We ask, what kind of impact will a Christmas lockdown have on the sales of age-restricted goods online?

A Christmas Lockdown

In the UK, the COVID-19 restrictions have been eased slightly over the Christmas period from 23 to 27 December. Under the new 3-tier system in England, shops have also been permitted to open in all tiers from 2 December. However, a large percentage of the UK population typically start Christmas shopping early, with some buying most of their gifts on Black Friday. Of course, during the Black Friday sales, all physical stores were forced to shut, and sales moved online.

Scotland is also undertaking a tiered system of restrictions with the majority of local authorities currently in tier 3 or lower. However, across the central belt, tier 4 restrictions are in place until 11 December with all non-essential shops forced to close. While it is expected that these authorities will move to tier 3 or lower after the lockdown period is over, many will have already finished their Christmas shopping by then.

Impact on Sales

According to a recent statement by a group of retailers including Burberry and Marks and Spencer, “November and December account for more than a fifth of all retail sales”. They also note that stores being forced to close in the weeks leading up to Christmas could result in many retailers not opening ever again.

It is also worth noting that while stores might be opening again soon in some areas, the British public are generally more cautious this Christmas. Many will decide to stay home regardless in order to avoid catching the virus. This is something which has been encouraged by the governments in all UK nations despite the restrictions being eased and physical shops being allowed to open.

It goes without saying that these factors will contribute to more online sales throughout the festive period in the UK and around the world this year. According to the VoucherCodes.co.uk Shopping for Christmas 2020 report, a third of all Christmas spending is set to take place online this year. The report also suggested that online spending is set to grow by 25.1% this year.
Many retailers have been forced to move their operations online this year already and so they are readily available for Christmas shoppers.

Age-Restricted Goods

Christmas is typically a busy period for retailers selling age-restricted goods such as alcohol. According to Convenience Store, “nearly half of shoppers (48%) purchased alcohol as a gift last Christmas”.

There may still be a few weeks left to go until Christmas, but it is expected that many of these customers will choose to shop online. We have already seen a larger demand for online grocery deliveries at the beginning of the pandemic. This year, more customers are predicted to purchase their Christmas shopping and groceries online.

For many, Christmas groceries include alcohol for gifts and celebrations. Of course, if any retailers are selling age-restricted goods online during the festive period, they must comply with the laws on age verification.

How AgeChecked Can Help

For any retailers selling age-restricted goods online such as alcohol, vapes and e-cigarettes or kitchen knives, age verification is very important. The Christmas lockdown has already resulted in many customers shopping online this year and retailers need to be ready for the weeks ahead.

If you are selling age-restricted goods online, AgeChecked can help. We offer a range of methods for retailers to use with fully integrated and non-integration options. With our simple and secure age verification solutions, customers can be uploaded and verified in no time at all, all at a low cost. Our Consumer Gateway solution only takes seconds to get the results.

If you use a third-party platform such as Shopify or WooCommerce, our service can be easily integrated using one of our recommended channel partners. Get in touch today to find out about our fully-compliant solution for the sale of alcohol, vaping products and more.

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