Average Christmas spending in UK set to drop by over £100 this year, study finds

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In a new study from McCarthy & Stone looking at the nation’s typical Christmas spending habits, it has been revealed that on average we’ll be spending over £100 less on the festive season than we did in the 2019 and 2018.

In a UK-wide survey from the retirement housebuilder – which asked respondents how much they intend to spend this year on everything from gifts to food and decorations – the national average spend figure for 2020 has been revealed as £419.19. Which is almost £150 less than 2018 and 2019 where the average spends were £560 and £567 respectively.

Unsurprisingly, the main reason given for the reduced expense this year is the COVID-19 pandemic – with nearly half (47.7%) of respondents citing the financial issues caused by the Coronavirus as a key factor. Wider research for the study showed that uncertainty in the job markets, being on the furlough scheme and prioritising savings in these uncertain times are some of the specific pandemic- related reasons we have for our reduced Christmas expenditure.

In addition, McCarthy & Stone’s data showed that 20% of us claim we will subsequently spend ‘less’ or ‘significantly less’ than we did last year. 10% are unsure if their spending habits will change and only 4% of us intended to spend more on Christmas this year.

While overall spend is set to be down this year, there were some interesting regional variations in the data. The people of Wales are set to be most generous this year with a spend of £460 – over £40 more than the average. Equally, households in Scotland and Northern England will spend more than average at £457 and £445 respectively. Those in the South West are expected to spend the least at £374.05 – which is £45 lower than the average.

On a city-wide level, Liverpool has been revealed to be the location where our biggest festive spenders will be this year, with a whopping average spend of £545.28.

A spokesperson for McCarthy & Stone offered their thoughts on the situation and the results of the study: “2020 has been a year unlike any other and has been a challenge for us all in a number of ways, particularly when it comes to our finances. As such it’s not surprising that our Christmas spending is set to drop, nor is it necessarily unexpected, particularly when more of us are focussed on saving for 2021.

“However, while this may mean our Christmases might not be as decadent as last year, it offers opportunities for us to find festive joy in other ways. For instance, many of our survey respondents said that they want to spend more time with their family and friends, or get involved in more charity or voluntary work to help others, rather than spending money.

“While this is also subject to whatever restrictions will be in place over the coming weeks, it’s also the approach we’ll be taking in our developments. As although we won’t be able to hold all our usual events and parties, we’ll still find ways to celebrate and bring Christmas spirit to all our retirement communities. With initiatives like our volunteering programme and supermarket partnerships, we’ll aim to ensure everyone has access to good food and a cheery chat.”