Shoppers set to spend less this Christmas

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Consumers are planning to rein in Christmas spending this year, according to a new YouGov SixthSense report.

The study, which compares spending habits in 2010 compared with last year, suggests people are also less likely to make big ticket purchases in the run up to the holidays.

While 14% of UK consumers who celebrate Christmas are spending more on yuletide festivities than they did last year, almost one in four claims they intend to spend less.

Shoppers are also wary of forking out large amounts for specific Christmas items; seven in 10 people intend to spend less than a total of £50 on cards, a Christmas tree and decorations this holiday season.

Forty six per cent say they intend to spend between £100-£249 on food and drink for consumption at home, while another 36% are budgeting to stay under the £100 mark.

Over a third (36%) of UK consumers say they will be spending between £100 and £249 on gifts for friends and family, while 30% intend to spend between £250 and £499.

The YouGov/Bloomberg Household Economic Activity Tracker (HEAT) also revealed consumers are currently unwilling to loosen the purse strings for big ticket items.

When asked, “Compared to one month ago [September], is now [October] generally a worse time or a better time to make major purchases?”, 37% of YouGov respondents said they were in a worse position with only 6% saying they were in a better position.

Commenting on the findings of the report, James McCoy, research director for YouGov SixthSense, said: “Many companies have pre-empted consumer reluctance to indulge in major purchases; Sony’s promise to return VAT on products bought before Christmas Eve is one such example. With a VAT hike coming in January, manufacturers essentially feel it is now or never – extra effort must be made to encourage customers to buy big before prices are affected.”