Seamless Shopping and Efficient Technology: Square and Clearpay Reveal Key Drivers for a Successful Festive Season

October 03, 2023United Kingdom

The new Festive Forecast indicates that to drive sales, retailers should meet consumers where they are with AI, social media and flexible payment options 

LONDON – October 3rd, 2023 – After a year of economic uncertainty driven by inflation and higher prices for goods, new research from Square and Clearpay indicates consumer confidence is on the up, with 72% of consumers planning to spend more or the same this holiday season when compared to last year, including 39% of Gen Z. To capitalise on this optimistic consumer outlook, 59% of sellers expect sales to increase this festive season as they lean into technology to streamline operations and build new revenue streams. 

“We’re prepared for a busy festive season this year”, said Gerard Levy, Owner of Spice London. “Our online store and social platforms are continuing to drive awareness and we’re seeing more of our local and international clients returning to our London location and shopping in-store. As an independent business, we know this is an important time for retail and will be exploring new and innovative ways we can sell and accept payment while making our brand, products and gift cards accessible to our customer needs and demands.”

While sellers will draw consumers into stores with tried and tested methods such as curated holiday products (38%), hosting in-store holiday events (42%) and offering repeat festive discounts (76%), many retailers are missing an important opportunity with AI to offer shoppers an efficient shopping experience. While Gen Z and Millennials are adopting AI at the fastest rate (35% and 30% respectively) and are using AI to get product information (32% and 40% respectively), just 19% of sellers plan to use it to streamline operations.

Sellers should look to meet consumers where they are, which means prioritising social media. More than a third (35%) of consumers state they find gift inspiration from social media; 73% amongst Gen Z and 56% among Millenials. Specifically, half of Gen Z consumers (48%) are getting their gifting inspiration from TikTok while other popular digital channels include shopping apps (24%) and websites, blogs or forums (18%) and wishlists (15%). 

Consumers value flexible payment options – almost half (48%) have used Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services in the past as they believe paying in instalments helps them manage their money. Amongst its customers, Clearpay is highlighted as being “a safe and secure way to pay” (37%) and allowing “fast and easy checkout” (43%), making their shopping experience seamless.

Aideen McAteer, Head of Central Operations at The Original Factory Shop, said: “We’re gearing up for another successful festive shopping season at The Original Factory Shop. We help customers shop the big brands for less, and Clearpay as a budgeting tool supports customers to get the items they want, without compromise. Since onboarding Clearpay, we’ve seen significant growth in basket size from customers using them, both online and in-store, which has in turn boosted growth for us as a business. We’re looking forward to making this shopping season better than ever for our customers, and we’re delighted to have Clearpay as a payment partner on board.”

Other Festive Forecast findings: 

Timing is everything:

  • 18% of shoppers start buying gifts in October.
  • 39% of consumers will buy gifts in November or will make the most of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
  • 23% of consumers are leaving festive shopping to early/mid December.

Omnichannel matters:

  • While it is expected that Gen Z prefer to buy Christmas gifts online (59%) rather than in-store (41%), the older Gen X generation matched this younger cohort in their shopping preferences. 
  • An omnichannel strategy remains crucial however,  for businesses to succeed during the holidays. Physical store visits still remain popular for gift inspiration, with 42% of businesses planning to host festive in-store events to engage consumers.   Word of mouth recommendations (46%) are also a driver for inspiration.

Square and Clearpay offer advice on how businesses can prepare for the holiday season: 

  • Create a strong and competitive plan for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to capture those shoppers who hold out for deals on gifting across this period. 
  • Arm your business with a BNPL service at checkout to capture festive shoppers looking for flexibility to pay in instalments over a short period of time. 
  • Implement conversational AI chatbots to streamline customer service,  and maximise staff output to focus on other critical tasks.
  • Drive customer footfall by offering unique experiences or exclusive offers and merchandise to engage and motivate shoppers. 
  • Embrace mobile commerce and consider shopping and wishlist apps as new social channels to increase your brand discovery, promote products, and reach new consumers. 


Findings based on a survey  of 1500 UK consumers conducted from 21 to 31 July 2023. The core sample data was nationally representative across age, gender, and location with an additional sample of 500 for Gen Z and Millennials.

Industry findings were based on a survey of 79 Square sellers in the UK conducted between 8 and 19 August 2023. 

About Square
Square makes commerce and financial services easy and accessible with its integrated ecosystem of solutions. Square offers purpose-built software to run complex restaurant, retail, and professional services operations, versatile e-commerce tools, embedded financial services and banking products, buy now, pay later functionality through Clearpay, staff management and payroll capabilities, and much more – all of which work together to save sellers time and effort. Millions of sellers across the globe trust Square to power their business and help them thrive in the economy. For more information, visit

About Clearpay (Afterpay Limited)
Afterpay, known as Clearpay in the UK, is transforming the way we pay by allowing anyone to buy products immediately and pay over time – enabling simple, transparent, and responsible spending. We are on a mission to power an economy in which everyone wins. 

Afterpay is offered by thousands of the world’s favourite retailers and used by millions of active global customers. Afterpay is currently available in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom, where it is known as Clearpay. Afterpay is a wholly owned subsidiary of Block, Inc. (NYSE: SQ).

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