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Friday, 14 December, 2001, 00:02 GMT
UK shoppers shun economic gloom
Father Christmas
Many people could do some help from Father Christmas
Few people have plans to rein in their Christmas spending this year despite concerns about economic downturn and fears over job security, a survey has said.

One third of consumers, in fact, plan to splash out more this Christmas than they did last year.

Christmas shopping
38% find it a chore
60% of consumers "browse a lot" before buying.
40% leave it to the last minute
One in five plan to use the internet
46% of men are saving money for the sales
39% of women are saving money for the sales

British men are the most optimistic, with 35% planning to spend more this Christmas than last.

According to a survey by Mintel, a market analyst, about half of British shoppers plan to spend the same as last year, while only 17% plan to spend less.

Just 14% said they were less inclined to spend as much on Christmas shopping due to current global events - and the attacks on 11 September.

Shopping spree

Mintel found that on average people plan to spend 376 this Christmas and will buy on average eleven presents for members of their family and friends.

Average Christmas spending by region
London 386
South 362
Anglia/Midlands 362
Wales/West/South West 412
Yorkshire/North East 383
North West 364
Scotland 385

Thirty per cent of consumers will spend 400 or more, and over one fifth of adults are prepared to spend 500 on gifts.

Not surprisingly, those families with children are likely to spend 25% more than those without.

Thirty eight percent find Christmas shopping a chore.

But 16% of shoppers felt they were likely to go into debt this Christmas - and a quarter of those in the age group 20-24.

Men are more likely than women to keep some money back for the January Sales at 42%.

Dominque Allport, retail consultant at Mintel said that this was comforting news for retailers, who fear that consumer spending will dry up after in the new year.

He said: "The fact that over 40% of British shoppers plan to keep some money back for the January sales, will come as a great relief to retailers as it has been predicted that the situation in the economy could begin to bite shortly after Christmas 2001."

Regional trends

There are regional differences in the way people will shop this Christmas.

London has the highest percentage of people who plan on spending less than 100.

But London and the western regions, including Wales and the South West, plan to spend the most.

In these regions, 15% of people plan to spend 600 or more this Christmas

Current state of the economy will cut my spending:
London 25%
South 28%
Anglia/Midlands 28%
Wales/West/South West 28%
Yorkshire/North East 28%
North West 30%
Scotland 27%

A bumper Christmas could be in order in the western regions of England, according to the Mintel data.

These areas have the highest proportion of people who say they spend "a lot more" this Christmas.

However, one reason maybe because they are the most prone to do last-minute shopping.

In contrast, only 1% of Scots said that they will spend more - and they are the most organised, according to the survey.

David Lewis, consumer pyschologist
"It is about developing identity"

Bah! Humbug
How much is Christmas costing you?
See also:

13 Dec 01 | Business
Sales growth jumps to 13-year high
13 Dec 01 | Business
US retail sales plunge
14 Nov 01 | Business
UK economy to recover in 2003
05 Dec 01 | Business
E-tailers prepare for Xmas boom
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