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Brits tighten belts this Christmas

Britons will spend £ 1.2 billion less on presents for friends and family this Christmas according to the latest research from the 2010 TNS Omnibus Christmas Report.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Brits tighten belts this Christmas

Britons will spend £ 1.2 billion less on presents for friends and family this Christmas according to the latest research from the 2010 TNS Omnibus Christmas Report.

The average spent on presents will be £375, down from £407 last year, perhaps reflecting the mood of the nation as more people look to curb their spending.

There are stark differences around the country, with wallet-watching Londoners expected to spend the least on presents at just under £290 per person, compared to over £470 in Scotland. There is also a marked gender difference with women likely to be more generous when it comes to splashing out on gifts this year, outspending men by over £50 per person - a reversal on findings from the 2009 report.

Toiletries, fragrances, cosmetics and health and beauty gifts continue to be the most popular presents bought at Christmas, followed by clothes and food items such as chocolates and delicatessen goods.

TNS Omnibus Managing Director, Sue Homeyard comments: “This Christmas was always going to be tough as people feel the pinch and express concern over what the new year will bring. Nearly half of people (44%) celebrating Christmas feel financially worse off this year compared to last. However it’s not all doom and gloom, as the total spent on Christmas  is still expected to reach £17.2 billion with an average spend of over £540 on presents, food, drink, decorations, travel and clothes during the festive season. The average amount people are likely to spend on their big Christmas grocery shop has remained fairly static at £170.30, suggesting that people might be cutting back on present buying but not on Christmas feasting.”

Children will see little difference in their Christmas stockings this year, with the average spent on children’s presents by parents staying stable at £198 – an estimated total of £2.3 billion for 2010.

The 2010 TNS Omnibus Christmas Report also found that more consumers will be shopping from home, with 27% saying they will do at least three-quarters of their Christmas present buying online this year. In a bid to get the best deals almost half (48%) of online shoppers will search for the best value on price comparison websites, ramping up the pressure on retailers to cut prices.

Sue Homeyard concludes: “In this time of financial constraint people will look to get the best value for their Christmas pound, and the ‘virtual high street’ offers a simple, quick way of shopping around for a good deal without leaving the house. While many people will pound the pavements for Christmas inspiration – two in three people get their gift ideas from high street stores - consumers are increasingly turning to online outlets to make their purchases.”

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