Retailers are hoping a late flurry of pay-as-you-go deals will bring some Christmas cheer to the mobile sector following the latest gloomy figures from the high street.
The latest statistics from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said November sales on the UK high street were the worst since May.
According to recent figures from analyst GfK, the mobile market shrank by 10% in volume terms in the year to October 2011. High street mobile retailers have been hit hardest by the economic downturn, with sales down in the double digits.
Phones 4u trading director Scott Hooton said: ‘It’s fair to say that the market is yet to see pay-as-you-go ramp up to the same levels as previous years but we have increased our market share in recent weeks and we expect to see significant uplift in volume in the run-up to the big day.’
An Everything Everywhere spokesperson said it was looking forward to a ‘strong’ Christmas despite ‘the tough market trading conditions’. It said it was hiring staff for T-Mobile and Orange stores in anticipation of a late rush on sales. The operator identified its Christmas gift boxes, a free Xbox 360 for customers who upgrade to a Nokia Lumia 800 and its £20 app pack for new and upgrading T-Mobile customers as reasons for optimism.
A Vodafone spokesperson said it was planning to focus on pay-as-you-go offers during the next two weeks. It is pushing the Vodafone 354, Samsung Galaxy Y, BlackBerry Curve 9360 and HTC Explorer, all of which it is promoting with its Freebees scheme that offers free minutes, text or web.
Speaking on Tuesday (6 December), BRC director general Stephen Robertson said there was a ‘worrying lack of cheer’ in the retail sector.