PwC: Scots consumers set to cut Christmas spending

PwC: Scots consumers set to cut Christmas spending

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Scottish consumers are preparing for a more frugal festive season, as financial pressures cause a significant reduction in holiday spending, according to PwC’s latest Festive Predictions.

The annual research explores consumers’ Christmas shopping behaviours, from spending on gifts to their festive feasts, and this year predicts that overall spend on presents and festivities across the UK will fall from £23 billion to £20bn - down by 13% from 2022. The decrease represents a spend of around £440 per UK consumer; and a drop of £40 per person from 2022, as the increased cost of living continues to bite.

North of the border, 18% of those surveyed said they plan to spend less on Christmas than they did in 2022 – with around 15% predicting they would spend more than last year.

With just 5% of consumers indicating they plan to go on holiday over Christmas, and the same proportion saying they’ll travel to family living abroad, the ways in which Scots are planning to spend the festive season suggests costs will be curtailed.

The majority of Scots plan to spend Christmas at home, either with immediate family (31%) or extended family (29%) – or visiting family elsewhere in the UK (30%).

Preparation is also proving to be key for buyer budgets, with the vast majority of Scots surveyed suggesting they will have completed their present shopping by early- to- mid-December (42%), with more than one fifth (21%) aiming to have their gifts in the bag ahead of Black Friday.

In terms of how this compares to previous years, 14% stated most of their gift shopping would be done earlier than in previous years, versus 11% doing the lion’s share of shopping later than they usually would.

Financial pressures account for the top three reasons amongst those expecting to spend less, with 48% saying they had less money to spend, 43% saying their personal finances had been hit by the cost of living, and 30% saying they were less confident of their personal finances in the coming year.

PwC: Scots consumers set to cut Christmas spending

Susannah Simpson

Susannah Simpson, partner at PwC Scotland, said: “Despite the cost of living continuing to bite, and to impact on consumer decision-making, across the UK there really is a willingness to continue making key celebration days special, with our survey indicating that people still plan to indulge in treats when it comes to festive food and drink. This is encouraging news for food and supermarket retailers in particular.

“And whilst many shoppers are taking a planned and methodical approach to spending, our latest festive predictions have revealed that Scotland sits above the UK average when it comes to last minute Christmas shopping.

“Nine per cent said they’ll pick up the majority of their presents the week before Christmas, or later, compared with seven per cent of UK shoppers.

“This could result in a boost for Scottish high streets and shopping centres as people perhaps opt for the in-store experience to avoid any last minute online delivery delays as the big day approaches.”

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