From Christmas gifts to decorations or gift cards, many shoppers will save all year to buy presents for the holiday season. Up until 2020, Christmas shopping numbers grew steadily each year, just like Black Friday spending.
However, last year’s pandemic shifted the holiday season spending trends towards online shopping and changed overall holiday spending on Christmas.
Last 5 Year Personal Spend
Last 5 Year Spend by Country
|2016||$653 billion||£78 billion|
|2017||$598 billion||£78 billion|
|2018||$707 billion||£77 billion|
|2019||$1 trillion||£84 billion|
|2020||$789 billion||£73 billion|
Christmas Shopping Demographics by Christmas Spending Amount
With so many people celebrating Christmas in both the United States and the United Kingdom, holiday shopping demographics vary.
This was even more obvious in 2020 due to the pandemic and people’s economic status. Here are some of last year’s demographic spending statistics regarding the people from the U.S. who spent less on holiday shopping.
- People aged 65 and older spent 46% less money on Christmas,
- 55-64-year-olds spent 45% less,
- 45-54-year-olds spent 42% less,
- 35-44-year-olds spent 40% less,
- 25-34-year-olds spent 31% less, while
- 18-24-year-olds spent 39% less money during Christmas 2020 than in 2019, according to Finder.com Christmas spending statistics 2020.
In the UK, the average Christmas spending was a little bit different.
- Generation X (those born 1965-1980) had the biggest average amount spent – £576 per person.
- Generation Z (born after 1996) spent the least, with an average spend of £207 per person, according to Finder.com Christmas spending statistics UK.
What Do People Want for Christmas?
From loved ones to family, to friends, to co-workers, shoppers buy Christmas gifts for everyone during the holiday season. Since there’s a lot of holiday retail sales, people purchase different holiday gifts for their loved ones.
The following are some of the statistics about what kind of holiday gifts people from the U.S. want for Christmas.
- 47.4% of women want to get jewellery for Christmas, while
- 32.3% of men want gift vouchers for Christmas, according to Fortunly.
Those from the UK never mentioned a specific gift;
- 53% of Brits wanted brands to acknowledge COVID-19 in their Christmas advertising campaign, according to YouGov poll.
What Do Holiday Shoppers Buy For Christmas?
The Christmas shopping season offers retail sales on everything from clothes, toys, to gift packages making it one of the most diverse gift buying holidays of the year.
Even with the wide variety of gift options available, most Christmas purchases in the U.S. fall into one of the holiday retail sales categories listed below.
- Clothing and accessories – 21%
- Gift cards and other – 19%
- Food and beverages – 14%
- Electronics and accessories – 13%
- Toys and hobbies – 13%
- Home and kitchen – 8%
- Health and wellness – 7%
- Pets – 5%, according to Deloitte Retail holiday survey.
In the UK, people purchased different things for Christmas. In 2020, they spent an average of:
- £52.15 on consumer electronics
- £47.18 on toys
- £28.55 on clothing/footwear
- £27.29 on gift cards, vouchers and money
- Health and wellness – 7%
- £22.99 on cosmetics, according to Statista.
Christmas Holiday Spending: Offline or Online?
Pandemic changed the way we think, plan, and do shopping in the holiday season. It’s why the Christmas shopping statistics changed a bit. People preferred online retail sales as opposed to brick-in-mortar holiday sales.
Since the majority preferred to shop online, many brick-and-mortar stores experienced losses and had to close down permanently.
Most retail sales numbers fell, while holiday shopping online sales grew worldwide. In 2020, 65% of people in the U.S. preferred online shopping to avoid crowds.
In the U.S., some holiday spending numbers grew, while others fell:
- Online sales of Christmas gifts in the 75 days prior to Christmas jumped 49% from the same year-earlier period, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse.
- Total YoY holiday sales declined 19.1% from Oct. 11 to Dec. 24, 2020, according to the same source.
In the UK, the holiday season brought more holiday spending as opposed to the previous year:
- Online spending on Christmas gifts, at £18,626m, increased by 56.2% more than in the same period in 2019, according to Centre for Retail Research.
- In Lockdown 2 period (ie November 2020), online sales grew by as much as 80.0%. The online share of retail sales rose to 32.8%, compared to only 21.5% in Christmas 2019, according to the same source.
How People Spent Christmas Holidays 2020?
Christmas holiday spending 2020 wasn’t like the previous ones. Not only did the average Christmas spending went down, but the travel plans fell short as well. In the previous years, a lot of people visited their families abroad.
Except for coming up with different activities to make up for the inability to travel and visit loved ones in other countries, many opted for a frugal approach during the peak period with almost a third (29%) admitting that they resisted holiday spending altogether and thus having less other expenses in this period.
In the U.S.,
- Consumers expected to shift spend out of travel (-34% YoY),
- Non-gift items such as home furnishings and seasonal décor was on the rise with $141 being spent per person, while
- $175 was spent on non-gift clothing, according to Deloitte Retail holiday survey.
In the UK,
- Less than half (47%) of people said that “cancelling Christmas is not an option for me” this year, compared to the 62% who said the same in 2019, according to YouGov.
- As many as 1.7 million people said they expected to be alone on Christmas Day, which shows that the overall number of people expecting to spend Christmas on their own has gone up from 4% in a normal year to 8% in 2020, according to The Guardian.
Which Foods Are in the Christmas Budget?
Holiday spending statistics wouldn’t be complete without the food. Winter holidays are the time of family get-togethers and different types of food are the non-gift holiday items present in every home. Last year’s holiday season was troubled by the pandemic, but more of this year’s Christmas budget will be allocated to experience the holiday season the right way.
Let’s see which foods people used to include in their holiday expenses in the U.S. and in the UK.
In the U.S., the festive celebrations include food such as:
- Roast potatoes
- Gravy, and
- Stuffing, according to a Good to Know article.
In the UK, a part of holiday budgets is allocated to very similar foods:
- Cranberry sauce, and
- Roast potatoes, according to a Lady in London article.
Christmas Spending Facts
While it seems like there may be nothing left to find out about Christmas spending statistics and Christmas in general, below are some holiday spending statistics and Christmas shoppers statistics that just might surprise you.
- The image of Santa Claus flying his sleigh began in 1819 and was created by Washington Irving, the same author who dreamt up the Headless Horseman, according to The Fact File.
- The three traditional colours of most Christmas decorations are red, green and gold. Red symbolizes the blood of Christ, green symbolized life and rebirth, and gold represents light, royalty and wealth, according to the same source.
- The home improvement category saw the biggest year-over-year increase in eCommerce in 2020 at 79.7% in the U.S., according to ROI Revolution.
- The weakest sectors for Christmas shopping in 2020 in the U.S. were apparel and luxury, falling 19% and 21%, according to Fortune’s article.
- The biggest holiday shoppers in the UK come from Northern Ireland, according to Statista.
- As many as a quarter (25%) of UK holiday shoppers that celebrate Christmas say they will have started thinking about Christmas shopping before the end of August, according to Internet Retailing.
Christmas spending statistics tend to rise each year, in one way or another. With sales surpassing over a few hundred billion dollars, Christmas will stay the biggest money-making holiday in the years to come, even in pandemic times.
Whether holiday shoppers save all year to make their Christmas season one they will never forget or put themselves into debt to complete their holiday gifts shopping, many people will continue to celebrate the season immersed in the holiday retail sales and by spending more money each year.
So, the average spending is likely to change next year and the spending statistics along with it. We just hope that the Christmas shoppers will be able to keep up with their Christmas spending habits in the years to come.
While this level of holiday spending may not be ideal for those who are exceeding their means, the holiday shopping season is definitely an important part of the economy and the growth of retail stores in both the United States and the United Kingdom.