Christmas spend down by almost £300 this year

Average Christmas spend has fallen by £268 from this time last year, going from £1,057 (2019%) down to £789 (2020), according to new research from AA Financial Services – a sign that Brits are feeling the pinch this festive season.

Asking a nationally representative sample of 2,131 adults what they planned to spend on socialising, decorations, food, travel and accommodation, the research found that, on every count, households planned to spend less money compared to last year.

Social restrictions were a key factor in the reduced spend, with the average person expecting to spend 56% (£152) less on socialising, new outfits and travel during the festive season than they did last year.

Modest declines in spend

Overall, Brits were planning on spending £41 less than last year on Christmas presents compared to last year and only £7.50 less on decorations for their home. Spend on food dropped by 27%, going from £171 down to £130.

James Fairclough, Director of AA Financial Services commented: “2020 has been an unbelievably challenging year for households across the UK, with many experiencing a reduction of income, losing jobs, or – worst of all – the loss of a loved one. We know Christmas will be different this year with the bubble system and warnings to be ‘jolly careful’. But, whatever restrictions are in place, hopefully everyone can enjoy Christmas as a reward for coping with everything the year has thrown at us, and to lift spirits and cheer us up. No one would begrudge the odd bit of indulgence and decadence this year given the circumstances.

“With large parties put on hold for the time being, the festive period may feel a little less merry in comparison to other years. While in the short term this is not good news, longer term – as the results show – many people could save a bit more money as a result of not going out. This could have positive benefits that carry long into 2021. The win-win would be to give ourselves and family a bit of a treat with the money we would otherwise have spent, as well as adding a little extra to the savings pot. Key to this is to ensure a decent savings rate, to ensure it works as hard as possible. For ideas on how to save, and the different options that are available, visit our website.”