Christmas shopping and spending statistics UK | 2020

How much are Brits going to spend on gifts this year?

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From watching the lights turn on in your local town centre to tucking into a roast dinner, there’s nothing quite like a white Christmas in the UK. Being such a celebrated time of year, 1 in 10 Brits begin their Christmas shopping as early as July. We did some research to find out how much Brits are spending on gifts over this holiday season (2020).

How much are Brits planning to spend this Christmas?

According to our research, an average British adult will fork out £476 on Christmas gifts in 2020, £37 less than the £513 average in 2019. This means that overall the UK is planning to spend £24.2 billion on festive gifts this year. This is 10% less than the £26.9 billion spent on Christmas gifts in 2019.

Why are people spending less on Christmas this year?

According to our research, 49% of people are planning to spend less on Christmas gifts in 2020. We asked these people the reasons for them spending this year and this is what they told us…

The impact of the pandemic on peoples finances was understandably the most common reason for people spending less (20%). The next most common reason for spending less was that people are not planning to visit shops this year (16%), followed by people not seeing their friends/extended relatives (15%) and not wanting to buy gifts/ expensive gifts as it may make people bad if they don’t return the favour (14%). Over 1 in 8 Brits (14%) said they don’t see the point in spending as much as usual when we are faced with lockdowns and restrictions on our movement. Therefore, it is clear the COVID-19 pandemic is having an effect on our Christmas spending.

Reasons for spending less % of those who are spending less
Impact that the pandemic has had on my finances 35%
Don't plan on visiting shops this year so expect to spend less 28%
Not sure if seeing friends/extended relatives so don't intend to buy for them 27%
I don't want to buy gifts/expensive gifts for people who may feel bad if they're not able to do the same 26%
Don't see the point in spending lots with Lockdowns and restrictions on our movement 24%
I have saved a lot this year and I want to spend less on Christmas to continue this 16%
Planning to buy presents in the new year, when there are less restrictions in place 10%
Can't put my Christmas spending on credit therefore I will have to spend less 9%
Other 2%

How are people reducing their Christmas spending?

According to our 2019 research, 3 in 5 (60%) are planning to reduce spending on presents in a range of ways.

Setting a price limit with family and friends is the most popular method, with 2 in 5 (39%) intending to do this. 1 in 7 (15%) Brits are giving experience gifts like picnics or massages to reduce costs while 13% of Brits say they will make gifts to cut costs.

Ways of cutting cost this Christmas Percent
Re-gift 10%
Set a price limit with family and friends 40%
Secret Santa instead of buying gifts for multiple people 11%
Make gifts 13%
Buy second hand gifts 10%
Giving a less expensive or free experience as a gift (e.g, massage, picnic) 15%
Waiting until after Christmas (Boxing Day sales, etc.) to do your Christmas shopping 9%
N/A - I don't plan to cut costs this Christmas 33%
I don't know / N/A - I don't typically buy Christmas presents 6%
Other 2%

It is interesting to see so many of us are thinking about how we can make our money go further or focus on experiences this Christmas. It can be a great feeling to give or receive a present, but it doesn’t need to break the bank. You will need to think about what your family and friends will value, but why not consider doing something really meaningful like learning to cook a new dish, making something or planning a day out somewhere. These could last longer in the memory than a product.”

Jon Ostler, UK CEO at finder.com

Gender differences

Men are planning to spend £458.13 on Christmas presents in 2020, £37.31 more than Women who are expected to spend £458.13 on average this year. However, 98% of women said they are planning to spend on Christmas compared to 96% of men. Therefore, the overall total spend of men and women is estimated to be the same, around £12.1 billion.

Males Females
% of Brits spending on gifts this Christmas 95.99% 98.15%
No. of Brits spending on gifts this Christmas 24,446,757 26,437,015
Average spend £495.44 £458.13
Predicted total spend £12,111,901,473 £12,111,589,873

Gender differences: Why are people spending less on Christmas this year?

Over half of women (51%) said they are planning to spend less this Christmas, compared to 46% of men. The most common reason for spending less for both genders was the impact of COVID-19 on their finances, with 21% of women and 18% stating this reason. Find out how men and women responses differ below:

Women Men
Impact that the pandemic has had on my finances 21% 18%
Don't plan on visiting shops this year so expect to spend less 17% 14%
Not sure if seeing friends/extended relatives so don't intend to buy for them 17% 14%
I don't want to buy gifts/expensive gifts for people who may feel bad if they're not able to do the same 14% 15%
Don't see the point in spending lots with Lockdowns and restrictions on our movement 13% 14%
I have saved a lot this year and I want to spend less on Christmas to continue this 8% 10%
Planning to buy presents in the new year, when there are less restrictions in place 4% 7%
Can't put my Christmas spending on credit therefore I will have to spend less 4% 7%
Other 1% 1%

Generational differences

Generation X (those born 1965–1980) is planning to spend £576 on average on festive gifts. This is higher than any other generation. At the other end of the scale is generation Z (those born after 1996), which intends to spend £207 each.

Generation Average spend (2020) Average spend (2019)
Generation Z (Born after 1996) £207 £212
Millennials (Born 1981-1996) £506 £539
Generation X (Born 1965-1980) £576 £636
Boomers (Born 1946-1964) £440 £453
Silent (Born 1928-1945) £475 £496

What generations are spending more or less on Christmas this year?

Our research found that gen Z are most likely to spend less this year (67%), followed by millennials (61%). The general rule was the younger the shopper the more likely they are to be planing to spend less this year. Therefore, the generation who said they are least likely to spend less is the Silent generation (1928-1945), where just under a quarter of individuals said they are going to spend less.

Regional differences

According to our 2020 research, people from Wales are planning to spend the most on Christmas gifts (£611). Londoners are expected to be the second highest spenders (£595), followed by Scotland (£555), Northern Ireland (£519) and the North East (£485). Residents from the East Midlands are predicted to spend the least this Christmas, spending £397.

Region Average spend
Wales £611
London £595
Scotland £555
Northern Ireland £519
North East £485
Yorkshire and the Humber £464
West Midlands £452
South West £439
South East £435
East Anglia £422
North West £406
East Midlands £397

Methodology

Finder.com commissioned Onepoll in November 2020 to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+.

A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.

Jon Ostler, CEO (UK) at finder.com is available for further comment, opinions or interview regarding the research.

For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 3828 1338
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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