Black Friday responsible for increase in spending over Christmas

The average household in the UK this year is expected to spend £753 on the festive season this year.

Christmas is a time of indulgence and excess in all its forms, and so it should come as no surprise then that the average household in the UK this year is expected to spend £753 on the festive season this year, based on a survey by Family Money.

Households stated that they felt ‘pressured’ to spend more than usual due to strong advertising for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, claiming that they felt less pressure before the hype in 2014.

Some statistics from the survey:

  • UK consumers are expected to spend 38 per cent more on Christmas this year
  • The average household Christmas spend in the UK is the second highest in Europe, with Spain just nabbing the top spot
  • UK consumers are also extremely keen on online shopping than the average European household. Based on responses from the survey, it is anticipated that UK shoppers will spend a staggering 142 per cent more on presents and a whopping 207 per cent on food and drink online compared to the other nine European countries also surveyed
  • However, 62 per cent of shoppers in the UK still intended to do their Christmas shopping in-store, citing that the customer service experience was an important factor in this decision, as well as better security over paying
  • UK shoppers also spend the most on gifts compared to the rest of the European nations in the survey
  • Overall, in a report by price comparison site, people in the UK ended up spending over £21 billion on Christmas last year!

What the breakdown of Christmas spending looks like

£753 seems like a lot of money to spend on Christmas, and you may well be curious as to what this breakdown of spending looks like.

Well, for people in the UK, the majority of spending is overwhelmingly on gifts for others. Last year, this equated to nearly £10.6 billion spent on presents, with the expectation that £378 will be spent this year by the average family. Apparently, we are the biggest chocolate purchasers too. With UK shoppers expecting to receive chocolate more than any other gift, followed by books, food and drink and perfume.

Meanwhile when it comes to Christmas food and drink spending, including that turkey with all the many trimmings, UK households will spend approximately £183 overall over the festive period.

Then, of course there are all those Christmas parties that must be attended! Taking into account the other various costs involved with parties – such as the cost of buying new clothes, accommodation, transport, meals out and the price of tickets this comes to on average £109 per household.

Finally, there are all those other Christmas expenses to add to the mix. This includes the Christmas tree and other decorations we feel the need to buy each and every year , as well as other Christmas experiences we all inevitably indulge in, such as that trip to the pantomime with the kids, or going to various Christmas markets and sipping on mulled wine whilst trying to fight the crowds of other shoppers. According to survey, this comes to an average of around £83 per household.

How borrowing plays a role in Christmas spending

Some 35 per cent of those surveyed said that they had to turn to borrowing in order to help fit the Christmas bill, with 60 per cent saying they would be able to repay off the loan within one month and 6 per cent requiring as much as six months to clear their debt.

Short term lenders were banned from advertising loans specifically for Christmas. This was introduced by the FCA in 2015 when they took over the governing of consumer finance from the Office of Fair Trading. The companies offering rent to buy and catalogue buying on credit are currently under review by the FCA and can expect amendments in Spring 2018.

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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