One-third of Britons ‘to slash Christmas spending amid cost of living crisis’

‘This year we hope people won’t feel pressurised into spending more they can afford,’ says Oxfam

Vicky Duncan
Monday 21 November 2022 12:13 GMT
One-third of people say they won’t buy presents for people outside their immediate family
One-third of people say they won’t buy presents for people outside their immediate family (SWNS)

More than a third of festive shoppers (35 per cent) will spend less on gifts this Christmas - typically cutting their budget by half, according to research.

The poll of 2,772 adults who celebrate Christmas found people wanting to save money plan to reduce their spend from an average of £485 to £259.

A combination of the cost-of-living crisis (66 per cent), worries about gas and electricity bills (42 per cent), a reluctance to get into debt (24 per cent), and trying to be thriftier (39 per cent), are propelling people to tighten their belts.

In a bid to cut outgoings this year, more than half of these respondents (56 per cent) will spend less per person.

While 35 per cent won’t be buying gifts outside of their immediate family, such as for friends or work colleagues, 15 per cent will only buy presents for children in their family.

However, the research, commissioned by Oxfam, brings some comfort, with almost three quarters (74 per cent) saying meaningful gifts, that don’t cost a lot, are best.

Lorna Fallon, director of retail for the charity, said: “Giving presents shouldn’t be about how much you spend.

“This year we hope people won’t feel pressurised into spending more they can afford, especially at a time where many people are worried about the cost of living.

“Bringing loved ones’ happiness on Christmas day does not need to be expensive, but it can be thoughtful.”

The study also revealed 30 per cent are scared this will be a difficult winter financially, with one in 10 worried their kids won’t have enough presents this year.

And 39 per cent want their money to go further with presents.

It also emerged 28 per cent feel pressure to buy gifts at Christmas, with nearly a quarter (24 per cent) relieved they have agreed with family and friends to cut back on giving this year.

Although 37 per cent feel guilty when someone buys them a gift but they don’t have anything to give them in return.

However, the research also found when it comes to giving and receiving at Christmas 43 per cent said it’s the thought that counts.

With more than one in 10 (12 per cent) buying second-hand gifts as books, particularly fiction, are revealed as top of people’s charity shop wish list (23 per cent).

It also emerged 27 per cent will choose gifts that have a positive social impact, such as charity gift cards or donations to a good cause.

As 17 per cent agreed some of the best presents they’ve ever received were ones that didn’t cost much at all.

Concerns over the environmental impact of Christmas like plastic waste and emissions (47 per cent) along with a desire to shop ethically (20 per cent) are also driving shopping decisions as 23 per cent of respondents said they’ll buy second-hand gifts this year because it’s more environmentally friendly.

Conducted via OnePoll, the study also found 21 per cent try to cut down their spending each year but find it hard to do.

Although 34 per cent of those buying for others plan to spend less per person this year compared to last.

With the average number of people on a Christmas gift list reducing by one person, from 10 in 2021 to nine this year.

It also emerged, regardless of household income, everyone is set to feel the squeeze this year as 41 per cent of shoppers with a household income of £20,001 to £25,000 want their money to stretch further.

While a near equal percentage (42 per cent) of those with a household income of £60,001 to £70,000 feel the same.

Lorna Fallon added: “We’re finding more people are shopping for books this year and Christmas shopping is well underway for unique gifts that won’t break the bank.

“Womenswear and menswear sales in our shops are also up, suggesting that customers are turning to charity shops to make their pound go as far as possible whilst supporting good causes.

“Browsing in a charity shop this year for just some of your presents will make your budget stretch further as well as bring a smile to your family with one-off, more sustainable, thoughtful and ethical gifts.

“For the friend or relative who has everything, or if you’re short on time or stuck for ideas, choose Oxfam Unwrapped gift cards.

“Funds raised from these cards support communities to make positive changes, by providing essentials like clean water and sanitation.”

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