Personal Finance

UK Christmas Spending Habits

UK Christmas Spending Habits

It’s the Christmas tradition – leaving all the gift-buying until the week before, causing a mad rush in towns and cities across the land. Isn’t it?

No, according to a new survey of people’s Christmas shopping habits by money saving website Most people have their shopping wrapped up by November, with almost 10% making a start by July.

But’s findings highlight that Christmas is becoming more expensive than ever – and that people need to make sure they plan well financially if they want to get the New Year off to a good start.


The research also found that most people find it difficult to stick to a budget on their Christmas shopping – perhaps unsurprising when you consider that the average spend ranges from £500 to £700 overall!

46% of respondents said they exceed their budget a little, while 29% blow their budget significantly. Worryingly, 7% don’t set a budget at all, although this doesn’t necessarily mean they spend more than they can afford.

High Street still beats online… just!

UK Christmas Spending Habits

Even though online shopping has grown massively in recent years, the High Street still wins when it comes to Christmas shopping. 55% of all Christmas shopping takes place in our towns and cities, while 45% takes place online.

It might seem surprising in this day and age, but it seems many people prefer to buy something they can see and look at beforehand.

Children fare best on shopping lists

68% of all Christmas spending goes towards children, according to the survey – by comparison, just 18% goes on partners. 13% goes on the rest of the family, and only 1% goes on friends.

Broken down into age ranges, children between 5 and 16 have the most spent on them. Teenagers get 36% of the overall spend, while children below 13 get 34%.

36% of children have between £100 and £200 spent on them, while 22% get £200-300, 15% get £300-400 and a very lucky 8% have more than £400 spent on them per child each year!

More than just presents…

Of course, it’s not just the gifts that add to the cost at Christmas time – the price of decorations, food and party preparations can also add up.

The research found that almost half of us (46%) spend between £200 and £300 on the extras, compared with 23% spending between £100 and £200.

A flush 10% spend more than £400 on their festive preparations.

If you have personal experience with budgeting for Christmas, whether you leave your Christmas shopping till the last minute or start planning six months in advance, we would love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.

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