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‘One in eight adults already shopping for Christmas’

General views of this year's Carnaby Christmas installation, titled Carnaby Kaleidoscope, in partnership with this year's charity partner Choose Love, featuring 600 sparkling, neon butterflies. Pic by David Parry

By Jemma Crew, PA Social Affairs Correspondent

One in eight adults has already started shopping for Christmas presents and food they would normally have bought a bit later in the year, figures suggest.

Over the past fortnight 12% of adults surveyed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said they have bought items they would usually purchase closer to the festive break.

A further 3% said they have pre-ordered items they would usually leave until later.

The most common items bought or pre-ordered early are food (47%), toys (44%) and clothes, shoes or accessories (33%).

The majority of those polled – 86% – said they have not bought or pre-ordered any items earlier than normal.

The ONS analysed responses from 4,397 people between October 20 and 31 as part of its Opinions and Lifestyle Survey.

It also found that 43% of adults continued to experience shortages when shopping in the past two weeks – down from 53% in the previous survey period.

Some 17% said they had been unable to buy essential food because it was not available, up from 16%, while 18% were unable to buy fuel (down from 37%).

Around two-thirds (65%) said they experienced differences when food shopping compared with normal, such as less variety and items not being available.

Overall, 57% of people said everything they needed to buy while shopping had been available, up from 47%.

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