Cut Back Christmas Looms: £562m Less Being Spent On Presents This Year

Wednesday 15th November 2023

  • Third of adults say they will spend less on presents for family and friends this Christmas compared to last year
  • Novuna Personal Finance reveals Christmas budgets have dropped by over 10%
  • A third of 16-34-year-olds plan to bag a bargain online on Christmas Day

 15 November, 2023 - Brits are finding new ways to make Christmas cost less this year, with almost one in three (30%) planning to reduce their spending on presents for family and friends – equating to a £562* million shrink in Christmas gifts spending.

The study, conducted by Novuna Personal Finance, shows that average Christmas gift budgets have dropped by over 10% this year, from £101 in 2022, to £90 per family member with shoppers in Glasgow (41%), Newcastle (38%) and Bristol (37%) making the most pronounced cutbacks on presents.

Almost a quarter (24%) of those surveyed say they’ll borrow money to help cover the cost of Christmas this year, especially those in Glasgow (31%), Sheffield, (29%) and London (26%).

In a bid to make their money go further, the study finds that nearly one in three younger adults (16–34-year-olds) will shun Christmas Day festivities to pursue early Boxing Day bargains online, whilst people are also considering how to avoid unwanted gifts and trim their shopping lists.

Selfless and conscious shoppers have requested not to receive a gift from people they’d usually receive from (34%) and two in five (39%) report that they won’t buy presents for people they usually would. Over half (56%) say that the main gift they’d like this year is money or gift cards.

Despite this, our furry friends remain high up on the list, with those surveyed saying they are more likely to buy presents for pets (20%) over gift giving to colleagues (8%) and teachers (5%).

Love it or hate it, Secret Santa still plays a part in plenty of our festive celebrations, with one in ten saying they use it as a budgeting tool (9%), spending on average £10.37 for their gift. Those aged 16 – 24 are the most generous Secret Santas, spending on average £17 per gift, compared to those aged 55+, who spend just £6.25.

Black Friday believers

Bargains and discounts play a key role in the run up to Christmas, with one in three (30%) saying they plan to shop on Black Friday this year and two in five (38%) doing so to save money.

The data revealed that 16–24-year-olds are twice as likely to grab a bargain (55%) as 45–54-year-olds (24%). And this younger group say they actively plan their financial outgoings and budget specifically around Black Friday.

There is power in planning, and Novuna found that Brits are well organised this year, one in ten (9%) have finished their Christmas shopping already, with a quarter (23%) planning on finishing a month before the big day. Almost one in five (18%) do this to get a better deal by shopping early.

Thrifting is also a money saving favourite of the under 35’s, as almost one in five (17%) are purchasing gifts second-hand.

The research shows that Black Friday is much more popular among those in their mid-thirties and younger. Half of adults under 34 (50%) say they plan on shopping during the event compared to just 15% of those aged 55+.

Theresa Lindsay, Group Marketing Director, from  Novuna Personal Finance comments: “Our research shows a clear shift in spending habits, with people budgeting less on Christmas gifts than last year. Heading into the festive season, we can see consumers readily making cutbacks in their plans for gifting.

“At a time when finances are being stretched, it’s good to see that many people have identified ways to save money this year, even though for some it means delaying Christmas and snapping up early Boxing Day bargains on the big day itself.”

Top present planning tips from Novuna to help keep Christmas spending in check

  • Excel at budgeting – Don’t be afraid to set a budget. Create a shopping spreadsheet to help you keep on track of your planned purchases and any unplanned spending.
  • Time is (less) money –By deciding what to gift your loved ones ahead of time, you can look around for the best deals and not fall for impulse buys.
  • Check your list twice – Through having a list of present ideas, it is easier to use sales like Black Friday to your advantage as you are more likely to only get gifts that are wanted.
  • Compare prices – Use comparison sites or shop around on the high street to find out if you can get a better deal elsewhere, rather than just buy from the first outlet identified online or in-store.
  • Buddy up – Rather than each buying individual gifts, speak to your siblings, or close friends, and see if they would prefer to split the cost of a present someone really wants with you.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

UK regions and their Christmas gift budgets per person

Northern Ireland

£132

Scotland

£106

Wales

£109

East of England

£97

West Midlands

£94

North East

£94

North West

£92

South East

£91

Greater London

£82

East Midlands

£76

South West

£76

Yorkshire & Humber

£76

Methodology

Survey conducted by Censuswide on 27th October – 30th October 2023. 2000 nationally representative UK consumers were surveyed.

*The £562m reduction in spending figure has been extrapolated from respondents reporting a reduction in spending on family and friends from £101 in 2022 to a projected £90 in 2023. 2021 ONS midyear population figures for the British population (aged 16+) have been used as the basis for this extrapolation.