Over half of people in the UK are worried about affording Christmas – research reveals

Toluna’s ‘Understanding the 2020 Consumer’ Global Barometer Study is a bi-weekly index that taps into a community panel of 30+ million members providing accurate and timely information on the world’s current perceptions. The latest research surveyed 1,108 respondents in the UK.


In a stark example of the harsh economic reality we find ourselves living through, 52% of people in the UK are worried about affording Christmas. Consequently, 31% are planning to spend less money on presents and gifts this year due to:

  • Concerns around the current financial situation (43%),
  • A desire to save as much money as possible in 2020 out of fear of what’s to come (40%)
  • And a change in personal finances this year (39%)

4 in 10 people expect to use or will consider using credit (such as credit cards, Klarna, PayPal credit etc) to delay Christmas shopping costs and to spread the amount over a period of time.

Perhaps not surprisingly, 40% of us are choosing to complete our Christmas shopping online this year with:

  • Almost half (49%) acknowledging that they’ll be spending Christmas differently to previous years due to Covid-19 restrictions
  • 46% sharing that the price of a present or deal they can secure is the key factor in present choice. We’re not all financially motivated though – 31% buy Christmas presents based on sentiment and the art of finding the perfect gift for a loved one
  • 39% admitting that they are being a lot more selective this year about who they choose to buy presents for
  • November the preferred choice when it comes to doing Christmas shopping (40%), with 22% leaving it to December to buy their presents
  • 33% worried that the presents they want to buy won’t be available due to stock issues and 22% confessing that they are prepared to pay that little bit more for the gifts they want.

As Christmas gets closer, over a third of us expect there to be more deals and discounts than previous years (34%) and 31% expect items to be flying off the shelves a lot quicker due to the surge in online shopping.

The top 5 most popular items for Christmas presents this year are:

  • Fashion and clothing gifts (34%)
  • Fragrances and perfumes (34%)
  • Cosmetics and beauty presents (33%)
  • Technology and electronic goods (24%)

And finally, Covid-19 might have changed some of our traditional ways of how we ‘Christmas’ this year – influencing where we go, what we do and what we buy – but one trend still going strong is the popularity of the gift card with 32% of us choosing to give someone a voucher as a present this festive season.

Esther Ward, Senior Research Executive, Harris Interactive, said: “It’s clear that Christmas this year is going to be markedly different and that’s having a big impact on our spending habits – how much we spend, in what ways and where. Retailers need to tap into this consumer sentiment to deliver the right kind of shopping experience to people, meeting their needs in a personalised way, empathising with not just the current economic environment but their own personal realities too.”


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