Press releases

Christmas spending expected to rise as UK shoppers are top gift buyers in Europe

16 November 2017

  • UK consumers will spend £544 (€614) on average this Christmas – 38% more than the European average;
  • Chocolate is the number one Christmas gift for UK consumers, with teenagers expecting to receive money and children expecting books;
  • Only 12% of consumers are planning to do their Christmas shopping at the last minute;
  • Deloitte’s European Christmas Survey 2017 analyses Europe’s shopping habits in the run up to Christmas.

UK consumers intend to spend an average £544 (€614) each this Christmas, 1.8% more than 2016, according to Deloitte’s 2017 European Christmas Survey. The majority of spending will be dedicated to gifts (£284 / €321), followed by food and drink (£141 / €159), socialising (£63 / €71) and travel (£56 / €63).

The survey of 8,154 consumers across 10 European countries found that the UK’s consumers expect to spend 38% more than the European average (€445). In addition, the UK is the second highest spending market in Europe behind Spain (€632) and ahead of third place Italy (€528).

The UK intends to spend 70% more on gifts than any other European nation surveyed. However, when it comes to food and drink, UK consumers lag some way behind the Spanish, who intend to spend €195 on this category alone.

The majority of UK consumers expect to receive chocolate this Christmas (53%), followed by books (44%), food & drink (38%), cosmetics/perfume (38%) and money (38%).

By contrast, most teenagers expect to receive gifts of money, followed by computer games, books, chocolates and clothes/shoes. Children under 12 years-old expect to receive gifts of books, followed by arts & crafts, clothes/shoes, educational toys and games this Christmas.

Ian Geddes, North West Europe head of retail at Deloitte, commented: “Following disappointing October sales figures, rising inflation and the first interest rate rise for more than 10 years, UK retailers will be holding their breath in the run up to Christmas.

“The retail industry should be buoyed by these spending intentions, as they will be hoping that momentum will return to the market at a time when cautious UK consumers continue to feel the squeeze on their spending.”

Christmas time (in November)
Deloitte’s research also found that UK consumers are planning to do the majority of their Christmas shopping in November (37%), with just 12% planning to shop in the week leading up to the 25th December.

Geddes adds: “Interestingly, UK consumers are planning to buy their Christmas shopping earlier, and November is now the key month for purchases. By contrast, shoppers across the rest of Europe tend to focus their spending on the month of December. This partly reflects more relaxed regulations on sales and promotions in the UK.

“In the UK, last-minute shopping is only really done by around one in eight people in the week before Christmas. Retailers in the UK need to ensure that they are maximising sales throughout November in order to tap in to this consumer trait.”

Browsing around the Christmas tree
The survey also found that UK consumers are by far the most active online spenders in Europe, and are planning to spend 142% more on gifts and 207% more on food and drink online than the European average. In addition, a fifth (21%) of consumers are planning to use digital wallets for their online spending.

Geddes adds: “Considering that the UK spends around £1bn a week online, it is not surprising to see such a disparity compared to the rest of the Continent. UK consumers are increasingly comfortable with making purchases online using their smartphones, tablets or laptop devices.

“That being said, the physical store still has a role to play in Christmas shopping, with almost two-thirds of shoppers suggesting they will do some or all of their Christmas shopping in-store.

“Retailers need to ensure that they are providing the best customer experience possible for consumers both in-store and online. In order to satisfy shoppers and make the most out of the Christmas boom, retailers are also expected to invest in home delivery, exchange and return policies, adjusted opening hours and online stores.”


Notes to editors

About the research
The Deloitte European Christmas Survey 2017 was conducted between 6th and 17th October 2017. The survey was sent to 18-65 year-olds, chosen from a pre-existing panel, based on sociodemographic characteristics, personal interests, income level and consumption behaviours. In total, there were 8,154 respondents from ten participating countries. Data responding to the UK was collected between 6th and 13th October 2017 and is based on a sample size of 782.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NWE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK's leading professional services firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

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