The cost of living crisis is, perhaps unsurprisingly, once again set to have a major impact on Christmas spending; extravagant gifts are out, replaced by “thoughtful” ones but some consumers are throwing caution to the wind and opting to go on holiday instead.
That is according to the latest study by eBay Ads, which reveals that more than half (51%) of UK consumers who celebrate Christmas have identified “good value for money” as their top priority when shopping for gifts.
This emphasis on affordability is driven by the financial strains that many are facing, with nearly half (48%) planning to scale back their celebrations.
For a fifth (19%) of Brits, the Christmas season is expected to be particularly stressful, given the additional financial concerns. This percentage closely mirrors the stress level reported in the previous year (20%), highlighting the lasting impact of the cost of living on shoppers.
The study also shows a shift in consumer preferences towards meaningful gifts rather than extravagant ones. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of shoppers believe thoughtful gifts hold greater value than expensive ones, with half (47%) intending to purchase thoughtful gifts for friends and family.
Additionally, 48% expressed their intent to invest significant time exploring their gift options before making a purchase.
However, despite the frugal approach to peak season spending, many Brits are planning Christmas getaways. Roughly one in five (20%) individuals are gearing up to celebrate the holiday season with a vacation.
Of these, 19% plan to travel abroad, either to visit loved ones, enjoy a winter destination holiday, or seek a warm-weather escape. As a result, 27% of holidaymakers plan to invest in cold-weather clothing and footwear, while 24% are prioritising attire suitable for warmer climates.
The research also highlights the influence of online advertising on Christmas shopping, with a third (34%) of Brits reporting being influenced by this web activity during the holiday season.
This influence ranged from being somewhat influenced, where ads sparked discovery, to heavily influenced, where ads played a critical role in helping consumers find exactly what they sought.
eBay Ads UK general manager Upasana Gupta said: “Following ongoing economic pressures, it’s to be expected that many Brits are taking a more cautious approach to their Christmas spending this year.”
“It’s pivotal that retailers are alert to those worrying about their finances during the run up to Christmas, ensuring there is ‘value’ in the inventory on offer – be that price or quality, it’s clear consumers are looking for their money’s worth.
“In the run up to the busiest retail period of the year, it’s key for brands and sellers to invest in their marketing strategies, to engage and inspire consumers throughout their Christmas shopping journey.”
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