Billions of people around the world eagerly await Christmas every year. Yet, this one will undoubtedly be unlike any other we’ve seen thus far. Namely, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many things will be quite different this year round, including Christmas spending statistics.
In this article, you’ll find all you need to know about the latest affairs concerning Christmas (both pre- and post-COVID), including average household expenses, budgets, gift purchasing, and more!
If you like what you hear, just keep on reading!
Top 10 Christmas Spending Statistics for 2021
- Despite the pandemic, there was an increase in holiday sales by 8.3%.
- 10% of Europeans go into debt due to Christmas shopping.
- 1 in 10 people returns their gifts to the store.
- 17% of American parents spare no expense when it comes to Christmas gifts.
- 25% of Americans planned to do their Christmas shopping early in 2020.
- $15.2 billion is the estimated total of unwanted presents.
- 40% of Americans planned to cut their Christmas spending in 2020.
- 21.5% of Americans go into debt because of Christmas.
- In 2020, Americans planned to spend an average of $998 on Christmas gifts.
- Women spend 20 hours, on average, shopping for Christmas presents.
Worldwide Christmas Spending Statistics to Get You Started
How much money do people spend on Christmas gifts around the globe?
1. Brits spend 40% more than other European consumers.
The average amount spent on Christmas in 2020 was around $743, which is a lot more than the average European consumer. What’s more, chocolate, cosmetics, and perfume top the list of choices for adults, whereas books and sportswear are the most common gifts for children.
In addition, 44% of all presents were expected to be purchased online.
Christmas shoppers in the UK are famous for their festive spirit and have no regrets when it comes to spending. A recent poll revealed that 16% of customers could not remember exactly how much money they spent upon completing their purchase.
2. Christmas debt statistics report 46% of Millennials and parents with kids under 18 are most willing to take on debt due to gift shopping.
Besides Millennials, who love to spend their money on technology, Gen X (43%) and Baby Boomers (33%) are also keen on taking on debt due to holiday expenses. The statistics also show us that people who are already in debt are willing to do the same thing.
Over half of them (57%) claim they would add their new holiday debt to the debt they already have, which could potentially lead to bankruptcy.
3. 10% of Europeans go into debt due to Christmas shopping, but Christmas spending facts show they can’t outdo Americans.
This varies from country to country. For example, in Luxembourg and the Netherlands this figure is relatively small — merely 3% and 5%, respectively — whereas in Romania it is a whopping 19%.
The truth is that 40% of Europeans feel pressured to spend more money than they usually do.
The situation is even worse in the US. A staggering 22% of Americans succumb to this temptation and go into debt each and every Christmas. This may reflect poorly on their credit score and even lead to requiring aid from credit repair services.
4. In 2020, Americans were ready to spend an average of $998 on winter holidays.
Most of the money spent on Christmas was planned for gifts ($650), non-gift holiday products like decorations ($230), and other non-gift products ($117).
Americans tend to spend more money with every new holiday season.
For example, in 2010, they spent $831 on average, whereas in 2020, the standard was $998. That’s a 20% increase over the period of ten years, i.e., a 2% increase per year.
Furthermore, we can see the mentioned increase in historical holiday sales — from $529 billion in 2010 to $729 billion in 2019.
5. Unfortunate gift giving statistics state 1 in 10 Europeans returns their gifts to the store.
Indeed, 15% of European people get gifts they don’t like. 1 in 10 of them will replace the gift. Another 10% claim they don’t even remember what they got for Christmas.
Hence, it shouldn’t surprise us that about 14% of people sell their gifts.
6. The average UK household spends an additional £740 (around $1,021) each December.
(Bank of England)
The average UK household spends about £2,500 (or roughly $3,289) a month. Yet, consumer spending during Christmas 2019 indicates that more money was spent across each category; Spending on alcohol increases by 38% during the festive month.
7. Merely 37% of Australians planned to cut their Christmas budget in 2020.
In the Land Down Under, only 37% of people were reevaluating their spending, whereas 56% of people from South Africa did the same.
Likewise, 52% of people from the Philippines and 47% of people from both India and Hong Kong were looking to spend less money on Christmas.
8. Christmas spending statistics indicate that clothing, shoes, and accessories were the most desirable gifts in Italy.
In 2020, 42% of Italians preferred to receive clothing or shoes as a Christmas gift. Another 22% wanted to get books and magazines, whereas 20% opted for children’s toys.
Only 13% were excited about getting a new smartphone or a phone accessory. Food (16%), and personal care products (17%) were more desirable than gadgets.
9. Pre-Christmas spending in 2020 in the UK dropped by 2.3% in December.
This was the biggest decline since June 2020. What’s more, in-store spending was down by 8.3%, due to the pandemic and shopper’s inability to leave their homes. On a positive note, online retail sales grew by 52.2%, making 46.8% of all retail spending in December.
10. Online retail sales in Brazil generated about 3.76 billion Brazilian reals during Christmas.
Despite the pandemic, online retail sales in Brazil witnessed an increase of 44.6% in 2020 compared to 2019.
Based on the holiday statistics, 65% of people planned to spend less, and 11% planned to spend more money on the upcoming holidays.
11. 10% of Hungarians planned to buy (nearly) all of their Christmas presents online.
On the other hand, 23% of the surveyed said they would like to buy nearly all the presents from stores. 24% planned to buy most of the gifts from stores and a smaller share via the internet, whereas 31% wanted to use the internet to make most of the purchases, and stores to make smaller shares.
US Christmas Spending Trends
What makes Americans different from other shoppers? How much do they spend on average on Christmas presents?
12. 25% of Americans planned to do their Christmas shopping early in 2020.
Namely, early November, due to the increasing number of people looking to stay clear of crowds and avoid possible lockdown-caused shortages.
Home Depot started holiday sales on November 8, and the latest Amazon company data confirmed a need for an additional 100,000 employees to manage increasing holiday demands. Likewise, in 2020, FedEx was hiring 27% more seasonal workers.
13. Holiday spending 2020 vs 2019 — despite the pandemic, there was an increase in holiday sales by 8.3%.
Retail sales during the holiday season witnessed an unexpected increase of 8.3% compared to the same period in 2019.
People managed to save more money due to the lockdowns, early payments, travel restrictions, etc., and were keen on spending it.
The US holiday sales in 2020 amounted to $789.4 billion.
14. 17% of American parents spare no expense when it comes to Christmas gifts.
It seems that some parents would even rob a bank to make their child happy. Joke aside, according to the data, the average Christmas spending per child in 2020 amounted to over $200 for 17% of parents.
15. Clothes and household items are the most unwanted presents.
If you wish to avoid giving someone a present that will not wow them in any way, try avoiding clothes and household items as presents. These two top the unwanted presents list with 43% and 20%, respectively.
The safest bet? Probably food or drinks, as only 4% of the buyers get it wrong.
16. In 2019, 56.3% of Americans set a Christmas budget yet only 64% actually stuck to it.
Christmas shopping facts from 2019 indicate that 29.6% of shoppers without a budget spent a lot more than they initially planned — around $992.33 on average. On the other hand, those who, in fact, had a budget spent an average of $878.21.
17. Due to the pandemic, the Christmas Price Index (CPI) was lower by 58.5% in 2020.
The Christmas Price Index shows the current cost of gifts given in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
In 2020, the Christmas Price Index (CPI) in the US amounted to $16,168. That’s a 58.5% fall compared to the previous year ($38,993).
This was the lowest figure since 1996 ($18,629). One of the possible reasons — some Christmas presents from the legendary song were unavailable due to coronavirus restrictions.
18. Christmas in the USA facts report 21.5% of Americans go into debt because of Christmas.
27.5% of indebted people have no idea of how they’re going to repay their debts. Another 29.7% expect to pay it off with a tax refund, whereas 13.4% plan to get a personal loan.
19. Women spend 20 hours, on average, shopping for Christmas presents.
Men, on the other hand, spend merely half that time shopping. Thus, the joint shopping average for both men and women is about 15 hours.
According to Christmas spending statistics, over three hours of that time is spent waiting in line. Another three hours are spent on wrapping gifts for friends and family.
Plus, after the holidays, people spend another hour taking gifts they dislike back to the store.
20. Friends are the worst Christmas shoppers when it comes to unwanted gifts.
23% of people have labeled their own friends as a source of unwanted gifts. In-laws take the second spot on the list above with 14%, and parents come third with 7%.
Also, Gen Xers seem to receive the worst gifts when it comes to age, with 44% of them disliking what they receive. However, Christmas spending facts show Gen Xers also spend the most ($121.90) on presents that turn out to be unwanted.
21. $15.2 billion is the estimated total of unwanted presents.
Around 61% of Americans expect to get a present they dislike, which equals to some 154 million dissatisfied individuals. It’s the thought that counts, right?
22. American Christmas spending largely varies on the state.
How much an average American spends on Christmas mostly depends on the region they live in — and surprisingly, it has nothing to do with American median domestic income.
For example, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana topped the list with average spending of $1,127.58, despite having some of the lowest average incomes.
Meanwhile, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri are stuck at the very bottom of the list, spending an average of $714.47.
How much to spend on Christmas gifts per person?
Experts recommend that people should spend about $100 on their partner’s gifts, $75–$100 on presents for their parents, and $50 on a brother or sister’s gift.
When it comes to your friends, $15–$25 is a good amount to spend. Hosts and teachers should get gifts that range from $15–$25. Unless you’re getting something as a group. In this case, the amount can be between $10 and $12.
If you’re on a tight budget, consider making a list of potential gifts, going with group gifts, and checking for bank discounts.
What does the average person spend on Christmas?
The average American was projected to spend about $998, of which:
- $650 were intended for gifts (for family, friends, and colleagues),
- $230 for non-gift holiday items (food and decorations), and
- $117 on non-gift items.
Compared to the 2019 data, that’s $50 less, which comes as no surprise due to the pandemic. However, the highest decrease ($45) was noted among the non-gift category (e.g. decorations).
What percentage of Christmas shopping is done online?
Recent research has shown that roughly 60% of people planned to conduct their holiday shopping online in 2020.
Of this, almost 91% of shoppers searched for items with free shipping. In contrast, another 16% had nothing against paying for same-day delivery.
Lastly, 44% of online shoppers planned to order gifts online but pick them up at the store.
How much does the average person spend on Christmas per child?
People usually spend about $91 on their children’s presents. That said, in 2020, 17% of parents got carried away by spending over $200 on their kid’s gifts.
What’s more, 71% of parents with younger kids feel the pressure to overspend. The most desirable toys among children are LEGO, Barbie, cars and trucks, dolls, and video games.
How much to spend on Christmas per child in 2021?
While there are no written rules, the experts believe that you shouldn’t go over $75 when it comes to children under 18. If you’re on a budget, it’s not wise to spend $200–$300 on your children’s gifts. So what can you do?
Be open with your kids and explain to them why their presents won’t be expensive this year. This might be difficult if in the past you used to give them expensive gifts because they will expect to get the same amount of presents every year.
What was the average Christmas spending per child in 2019 in the UK?
Based on one poll, Brits spent an average of £100 ($139.33) per child, whereas UK households spent an average of £363 ($505.77) on Christmas gifts.
The smallest amount spent on Christmas presents was £25 ($34.83), but some people went overboard by spending a staggering £2,000 ($2,786) on gifts alone.
When it comes to British teenagers, they usually get gifts worth about £150 ($208.99). The budget for small kids and babies was much smaller.
How much do couples spend on each other for Christmas?
People spend on average $123 on their partner’s gifts. Experts somewhat agree with this sum. They recommend that people should spend about $100 on their spouses, $75–$100 on their parents, $50 on their siblings, and $75 on their children.
However, in the like manner as the 17% of parents that spend over $200 on their children’s presents, 12.5% of people are ready to spend more than $300 on their partner’s gifts.
Final Take on the Christmas Spending Statistics
How has the pandemic changed the favorite holiday spending habits? Apparently, we haven’t saved one bit, which may be a good indicator nothing has changed much regarding gift-giving in the “new normal”.
We’re positive our top Christmas spending statistics got you both hyped and better prepared for this year’s holiday season. Still, don’t forget to take a deep breath, spend some more time with friends and family, and most important of all — enjoy yourself! It is Christmas, after all.