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UK families to spend over £1,800 this Christmas as costs triple in last 30 years

The analysis of a basket of 24 costs associated with the festive season saw an average price rise that is 93 per cent above the rate of inflation

Athena Stavrou
Wednesday 13 December 2023 08:47 GMT
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The average household in the UK will spend £1,811.70 on Christmas festivities this year
The average household in the UK will spend £1,811.70 on Christmas festivities this year (Getty/iStock)

From the Christmas Turkey to the annual “spruce up”, the cost of the festival period has tripled in the last 30 years, new research has shown.

As the cost of living continues to skyrocket, the average household in the UK will spend £1,811.70 on Christmas festivities this year, the equivalent of 80 per cent of the average monthly UK income.

In stark contrast, the average Brit spent just £229 on Christmas 30 years ago – just three and a half days of the average wage that year. Adjusting for inflation, the cost of Christmas has risen 290 per cent in 30 years.

MoneySuperMarket’s analysis of 2,000 people and a basket of 24 costs associated with the festive season saw an average price rise that is a staggering 93 per cent above the rate of inflation.

Among the festive goods surveyed, the cost of a Turkey was found to have soared. Brits expect to spend £64.60 on this year’s turkey, compared to an average of £17.39 in 1993 - £34.79 adjusted for inflation - meaning the centrepiece is 46 per cent above the rate of inflation.

Analysts Kantar found that a typical family of four is expected to spend £31 on Christmas dinner this year.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “The scene is set for record-breaking spend through the supermarket tills this Christmas.

“The festive period is always a bumper one for the grocers, with consumers buying on average 10 per cent more items than in a typical month. Some of the increase, of course, will also be driven by the ongoing price inflation we’ve seen this year.”

The cost of giving gifts has also soared since 1993. This year, the average Brit will spend £278.50 on gifts for their family and friends, while in 1993 this figure was only £164.51, the Christmas Household Money Index found.

Brits are also willing to spend spending significantly more on their Christmas spruce up according to the research. In 1993 only £12.34 was set aside for this, whereas now people are willing to shell out £87.10.

In 1993 a first class stamp for sending your Christmas cards was only 25p, compared to £1.25 today. A bottle of champagne would set you back just £7.99 – compared to around £35 today.

A 454g tin of Quality Street was just £1.67 in 1993 – the average cost per 100g today is 91p, meaning the festive treats cost 16 per cent above the rate of inflation.

The research also found that festive spending habits varied massively across the UK. Manchester festive spending – £2,274.80 per household – is 25 per cent more than the UK average.

It’s one of only two places to spend more than a month’s average income on its Christmas festivities – 103% of the average monthly income of £2,274.80.

Meanwhile, people in Brighton spend by far the least on Christmas, just £1059.30 per household – over £1,200 less than Manchester.

However, it’s not all bad news as the study also found that there had also been some big price decreases over the years.

30 years ago, a six foot tree cost £18.99, which is £39.07 adjusted for today’s money. In 2023 the average cost is £30, meaning the price of trees has beaten inflation by 22 per cent.

Lis Blair, Chief Customer Officer at MoneySuperMarket, said: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year and the most costly. This Christmas edition of the Household Money Index highlights how the costs of the festive season add up. Some of these, like mobile data plans and insurance for new gadgets, will last all year - so compare to find the best deals.”

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