Brits predicted to spend an extra £1,565 during the festive period

Two men smiling at a Christmas market
  • A typical UK household spends just over £2,500 in a month1
  • This figure is expected to rise by £1,565 during the Christmas month.
  • Highest proportion of this additional expenditure is on socialising/ parties/ buying Christmas outfits (£355) followed by travelling/ Christmas breaks (£320) and gifts (£247).
  • Half (49%) will use money they already have in their current account to pay for Christmas, while just over one in five (21%) will dip into savings pots to pay for the celebrations.
  • Just over one in five (21%) will use credit cards.
  • One in ten (10%) choose buy now, pay later options – and another (8%) are looking for their work Christmas bonus to tide them over the festive period.

According to the Bank of England1, a typical UK household spends just over £2,500 a month, but new research from Aviva today reveals that a typical Brit will spend an additional £1,565 on average during the festive period this year -  63% more than they would in a normal month.

The highest proportion of this extra spend on socialising/ parties/ buying Christmas outfits (£355); another £320 is paid out travelling to see friends and family or taking off for a Christmas break. Just under £250, on average, is spent on presents, and it’s expected £200 will be spent on the traditional Christmas tree and all the decorations around the home and garden.

The poll reveals that 49% of those surveyed will use money they already have in their current account to pay for Christmas this year, while just over one in five (21%) will dip into savings pots to pay for the celebrations, and a further 21% will use credit cards to see them through.

One in ten (10%) will use buy now, pay later to treat their loved ones and a lucky few (8%) say they are looking for their work Christmas bonus to fund the jovialities.

For the majority (74%) who claim to enjoy the festive period, food tops the charts as the most enjoyable aspect of Christmas, with 66% of this group picking this as a seasonal highlight. Spending time with friends and family comes a close second with 65% and over two in five (44%) enjoy decorating the house and Christmas tree.  Entertainingly, 6% enjoy dressing up as Santa!

Of those who said they enjoy the festive period, they most like:

The Christmas food

66%

Spending time with friends and family

65%

Buying presents for others

49%

Decorating the house

44%

Feeling nostalgic

38%

Seeing how excited children get

35%

Receiving gifts from others

34%

Christmas parties/ entertaining

25%

Dressing up as Santa

6%

But Christmas is not everyone’s cup of tea. Just over one in six (17%) state that they do not enjoy the festive season. Almost half of them (49%) say it feels like ‘forced fun’ – this figure rises to 62% of over 55s in this category. Some say it’s just too expensive (44%), others worry about how they are going to pay for it (34%) and say it’s far too stressful and impacts their health and wellbeing (28%). One in five (20%) say they eat far too much and regret it later and a similar number (19%) simply don’t like socialising!

When it comes to receiving gifts, more than a third (36%) have asked for, or think they will receive, cash this Christmas. The largest proportion plan to:

  • Save it – short term (cash): 33%
  • Spend it on here and now (games, clothes, nights out etc): 26%
  • Save it for a bigger purchase - holiday, house, car, wedding: 20%
  • Buy presents for other people: 17%
  • Spend it on my children/ grand children: 16%
  • Save it – long term (fixed term savings, premium bonds, ISAs): 16%
By sticking to a Christmas budget; minimising our use of debt; and by shopping around for discounts and offers, we'll be better placed to enter 2024 on the financial front foot.

Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings and Retirement at Aviva says: "Most of us love Christmas, and it appears that it’s the giving, rather than the receiving, that brings us most joy.

"The spirit of generosity is to be celebrated. But managing our money will help ensure our Christmas cheer is not followed by a New Year hangover.

"By sticking to a Christmas budget; minimising our use of debt; and by shopping around for discounts and offers, we'll be better placed to enter 2024 on the financial front foot.”

There are a number of free online budget planning tools like MoneyHelper or Stepchange, as well as discount and cashback websites such as Quidco.com or TopCashback that can help.

-Ends-

Enquiries:

Fiona Whytock

Retirement, Savings and Investments

Methodology:

The research was conducted by Censuswide between 10th – 13th November 2023 of 2000 general consumers, aged 16+, national representative sample. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles. 

Sources:

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence 3.0.

1. Bank of England UK Household spend.

Notes to editors:

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