Christmas comes early for Britain’s retailers
IT’S beginning to look a lot like Christmas for retailers, as a new survey shows that most people plan to spend as much as they did last year – or more.
Half of the people asked said that, despite the economic doom and gloom, they will keep the cash tills ringing out this season, with an average of about £500 going on presents, food and drink and celebrations.
And far from cancelling Christmas, one in five said they would part with more cash this year, roughly the same as the number who admitted they planned to cut back.
The findings, commissioned by HSBC, revealed that in the UK the typical person will spend about £347 on gifts for their immediate family, plus £179 on eating, drinking and entertainment. In Scotland, the spree was slightly less, with £343 on presents and £172 on food, drink and going out.
The Welsh were named Britain’s biggest Christmas spenders, splashing out £656 each on average, of which £484 would go on gifts and £172 for refreshments and entertainment.
The study, which involved more than 2,000 people across Britain, follows welcome figures last week showing that the longest double-dip recession to grip the country since 1950 was over.
George Charalambous, HSBC head of current accounts, said: “Our research shows that, once again, households want to put financial difficulties to one side and celebrate this special time of the year.”
Younger people were particularly optimistic about being able to increase their festive finances this year, with 29 per cent of consumers aged 18 to 24 planning to spend more. Most people were being careful with their cash, however, with almost a third (31 per cent) planning to use discount vouchers to make their money go further.
It was not all good news, with almost a fifth (17 per cent) planning to take on more debt to pay for festivities.
One in ten of those asked in the survey had not decided when they would do their shopping, but most expected to hit the stores next month or at the start of December.
Meanwhile, separate research may provide inspiration to cash-strapped families, with new evidence that children preferred cardboard boxes to expensive toys. Almost half (46 per cent) of parents reported that their child got greater enjoyment from playing with packaging than the costly gadgets and games it contained.
The Ribena Plus Play report found that many parents still feel pressured into buying the must-have toys, however, with a fifth (19 per cent) spending more than £200 on their child last Christmas.
Sally Goddard Blythe, a consultant in neuro-developmental education, said: “As the report proves, simple household goods which let youngsters’ imaginations fly free are the most reewarding toys of all and can actually benefit kids’ development in the long run.”
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