Why the UK is spending less this Christmas

Dec 18, 2018


By Esmée Hardwick-Slack

According to a survey of 2,000 UK consumers conducted by Bobatoo back in November, 66% of UK shoppers planned to spend much less this Christmas compared to previous years. The survey also revealed that 45% of people are spending most of their Christmas budget on family members and 38% on presents for children, with the most common amount to spend on presents per child is around £50-£100, while for spouses it’s less than £100.

In total, many are expecting to spend less than £300 on presents this year, however, 40% of those surveyed say they will spend between £100-£200 on food, drink and decorations. Bobatoo’s communications director, Jeremy Wright, said:

“It is clear from our survey that Christmas will see UK consumers continue to shop savvy and look for deals and savings wherever they can find them. With the majority of shoppers buying presents online, the growing popularity of events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday is expected to further make Christmas a time for bargains rather than ‘splashing out’.”

While latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that wages are continuing to rise at their highest level for nearly a decade, many people’s real annual wages are actually £800 lower than 10 years ago, according to analysis for the BBC. In addition to this, many are feeling the pinch due to the rising price of groceries and other essentials like energy bills, due to inflation and the fall in the pound.

Many people have also been savvier in their shopping this year by choosing to go online to compare prices rather than shopping on the high street. Online retailers have done extremely well this year, with many reporting record breaking profits and extending Black Friday sales throughout the month.

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director at IMRG, a trade body UK online retailers has said:

“It’s a problem of contagion. You get a few big retailers with well-published problems, as we’ve seen this year. That forces them into discounts, and that forces their competitors into discounts. What all the discounting does, is it creates in the mind of the shopper this idea that you don’t really have to go and spend full price.”

However, there is the possibility that footfall will increase at High Street shops in the days running up to Christmas. Click and collet has increased in popularity, with consumers saving on delivery costs by reserving and collecting their goods in store. Retailers also benefit from this by saving on third party delivery and there is a chance people may purchase other items in store when they come to collect their parcel.

Let us know how you budget for the festive period in the comments or chat to us on Twitter!

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