The great Xmas present spend

December 13, 2011, 10:26 AM GMT+0

Poll shows Britons will spend over £300 on gifts, with many using credit or overdrafts to afford it

With Christmas Day only 11 days away, and gift buying in full swing, our online survey of over 2,000 British adults for Halifax reveals the average person in the UK plans to spend £319.61 on gifts for loved ones, intending to shell out nearly £38 on each person.

  • On average, women in the UK expect to buy for 10 people this Christmas, whereas men will only give gifts to seven people
  • Those aged 18 to 24 are planning to only give gifts to seven people on average while those aged 35 to 44 are more generous, planning to spend money on nine people
  • Across the regions, Londoners will be buying the least number of gifts (around 7 on average), while those in Yorkshire & the Humber will buy for ten
  • Those in the North East will be the most generous in the country, with the average amount they expect to spend on gifts totalling £469.15
  • While those in the South West are looking to spend the least this year with £232.78 in total

The poll also found that the majority of consumers (52%) do not save for Christmas in any way, spending what they can afford at the time. One in 10 (10%) use their credit card and pay the money back at a later date. Encouragingly, 71% of people who purchase gifts definitely have the money or vouchers available to pay for all of their Christmas presents, with those in the South West (78%) and aged 55 and above (81%) saying the same.

Credit Christmas

Some people will find it difficult to afford this Christmas, however.

  • Nearly three in 10 (29%) aged between 25 to 34 will have to borrow money or will go overdrawn to afford Christmas presents for friends and family
  • The majority of those aged between 18 to 24 (59%) only spend what they can at the time without saving throughout the year
  • Regionally speaking, more than a quarter (26%) of Scots who buy gifts will either borrow or go overdrawn
  • When it comes to credit cards, Londoners who purchase presents (13%) and those aged 45 to 54 (12%) are most likely to pay for their spending in this way

In fact, to ease the financial burden of Christmas, more than half of UK consumers (54%) take advantage of sales, multi buy promotions, vouchers or sales when buying Christmas presents every or most years.

Make your own

However, making Christmas presents is not a popular option, with 53% who give gifts never doing this specifically to save money, and only 4% of consumers choosing to do this every year. Interestingly, more than six in 10 (63%) 18 to 24 year olds have made their own Christmas present at some point solely to save money.

Despite the financial uncertainty of recent years, only 31% of Christmas shoppers have decreased the amount spent on Christmas presents compared to five years ago, 27% have spent the same and 32% have increased the amount they buy.

Commenting on the findings, Rob Wood, Head of Halifax Savings, said: ‘It seems Christmas spending has not slowed down as we head into the holiday period and only a small number of people have felt the need to save throughout the year to cover the costs. It is encouraging, however, that most consumers will have the money [upfront] to cover the costs of Christmas presents.’

But, he continued, ‘Christmas can be a tough time financially for families and advanced planning and saving is the best way to ensure there is enough money to go around for all the extra costs.’

See the survey details and full results here