New research from YouGov suggests Christmas spending will be flat, with British households spending an average of £821 – a slight decrease of £1 on last year.
The figures show households expect to splash out £604 on gifts, an increase of 0.8% on 2013. The survey also found that the average proposed food and drink spend will be £174 (a 3.5% reduction on last year) and £43 on cards, trees and decorations (a rise of 0.2% on the previous Christmas).
YouGov’s Christmas spending intentions survey suggests the UK’s total intended festive spend will be around £22.5 billion. This is a slight increase on the £22.3 billion in 2013 and is driven by an increase in the adult population of the UK rather than an increase in consumers’ willingness to spend.
The flat figures for festive spending come as consumer confidence has stagnated in recent months. The YouGov/Cebr Consumer Confidence Index – based on YouGov’s Household Economic Activity Tracking (HEAT) data – showed little movement for much of the year and even saw a large decline in October. While household financial situations have improved, increasing numbers of consumers harbour fears about job security and levels of business activity in the workplace over the next 12 months.
James McCoy, Research Director at YouGov, says: ‘All in all, this year’s Christmas spending plans are not a disaster, but also nothing to shout about, with the average festive household spend ostensibly the same as last year. Spending on gifts is fairly flat compared to 2013 with consumers only buying more “luxury” items if the price is right – as we saw with the scenes on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
‘At this stage of an economic recovery, we would expect to see a bumper Christmas, but this research suggests otherwise. This could be because consumers are waiting for the January sales, or it could be linked to a growing sense of caution among the public – our figures show that consumer confidence has been relatively sluggish in recent months’.