Follow us

Brits to take “cautious approach” to Christmas as cost-of-living crisis persists

Tom Bottomley
12 September 2023

Continued cost-of-living pressures are causing Brits to take a cautious approach to the coming festive season, according to the latest annual Christmas Spend Trends report from eBay Ads UK.

Thoughtful rather than materialistic gifting emerged as a particular trend with the 2,067 adults in the UK who were surveyed between 30 June – 4 July 2023.

The findings revealed that Brits favour "gifts with meaning over big price tags", as they look to get more savvy with their seasonal spending. Almost two thirds (64%) of consumers said that thoughtful gifts are better received than expensive gifts.

Other key findings include:

  • 51% of shoppers say good value for money is their top priority when shopping for gifts this festive season.
  • 47% of consumers plan to buy thoughtful gifts for friends and family this year and a further 48% say they spend a lot of time exploring their options before making festive gift purchases.
  • 20% of consumers plan to celebrate this Christmas with a holiday, and 19% plan to head overseas to make up for past years of uncertainty and disruption.
  • 27% of holidaymakers this season say they’ll be buying cold weather clothes and footwear, while 24% are prioritising getting kitted out for hot destinations.

Additionally, the scale of this year’s festivities is set to take a hit as 48% of Brits who celebrate Christmas revealed they plan to have modest celebrations due to cost-of-living pressures, with 19% citing that Christmas will feel stressful as there’s more to worry about than usual.

That mirrors the percentage of people who reported that Christmas would feel stressful in 2022 (20%), highlighting the enduring impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on shoppers.

Upasana Gupta, GM at eBay Ads UK, said: "Following ongoing economic pressures, it’s to be expected that many Brits are taking a more cautious approach to their Christmas spending this year. Tough times in recent years could explain shoppers favouring to find thoughtful items for loved ones this Christmas, over expensive gifts.

"It’s pivotal that retailers are alert to those worrying about their finances during the run up to Christmas, ensuring there is ‘value’ in the inventory on offer. Be that price or quality, it’s clear consumers are looking for their money’s worth."

Looking at the impact of online advertising on Christmas shopping, according to the research it continues to play a significant role on consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Some 34% of consumers said they are influenced by online advertisements during the peak Christmas period, claiming ads "help spark discovery" or "help them find exactly what they are looking for".

Gupta added: "In the run up to the busiest retail period of the year, it’s key for brands and sellers to invest in their marketing strategies to engage and inspire consumers throughout their Christmas shopping journey."

Free NewsletterVISIT