Are you a ‘stocking half-full’ person? Christmas cheer splits UK, reports AXA Big Money Index

The third “Big Money Index” from AXA has revealed that while Christmas spending will remain the same for many, almost a third of consumers will be reigning in their spending across ten different areas*, including presents, entertaining and going out.

24 November 2011

Posted in Financial results

by Jennifer Chilcott (see media contact)

Download the AXA Big Money Index Report Q3 2011

While over half (58 per cent) said they will spend the same as usual on Christmas this year, it seems to be a 'stocking half-empty' Christmas for some. Almost a third admitted that they will have to scrimp in some areas to enjoy a similar Christmas to previous years as costs rise.

Consumers choosing to spend the same are faced with the fact that their money will not go as far following the VAT hikes, and retailers may still face a difficult Christmas as just under a third of consumers say they will spend less on presents (30 per cent) and just over a third will spend less on decorations (36 per cent). It's not good news for bars and restaurants either, as a third of people (34 per cent) say they will cut back on going out However, it seems that few want to trim the Christmas trimmings, as food was the least likely area to see cutbacks this season with only 24 per cent saying they will spend less.

Unsurprisingly, those feeling the pinch the most are the Under-funded Seniors, with as many as 54 per cent saying they will go out less and throw fewer parties or not entertain friends and family as much. The lack of festive spirit is also rife within the Modest Middle Years, with 43 per cent cutting back on partying and entertaining. For The Stretched, the biggest cutbacks will be on going out (45 per cent will spend less).

The region most likely by far to make cutbacks in all ten subject areas is the North East, with 51 per cent planning to spend less on going out and 57 per cent planning to spend less on decorations. Consumers in London are by far the least likely to make cutbacks across every one of the ten areas.

Nick Turner, AXA UK's director of customer partnerships, said: "As the cost of Christmas rises, in effect, thanks to the VAT hike, it's heartening to see the majority won't be cutting back their festive budgets this year - though they will get less for their money. I think we're going to see a lot more shopping around and possibly the highest ever online trade this year as consumers seek to stretch their pounds even further."