2 minute read 8 Dec 2021
Image of santa standing at shop

Swiss Survey on Christmas Shopping: Despite dampened mood, budgets for gifts are in 2021 higher than ever before

By André M. Bieri

Markets Leader Switzerland & Liechtenstein

Married and proud father of two children, manages his own vineyard and likes kickboxing, biking and jogging.

2 minute read 8 Dec 2021

The Corona pandemic and the associated supply shortages are having an impact on the mood and Christmas shopping of Swiss consumers.

In brief 
  • The EY Christmas Study 2021 shows the coronavirus pandemic is dampening the Christmas spirit of around 60% of the Swiss respondents.
  • 75% of the Swiss consider sustainability to be important. Approximately half of them would accept additional costs for this.
  • This year, respondents are willing to spend an average of CHF 334 on Christmas gifts – the highest amount recorded in the years since the survey began.

Clothing, cosmetics, toys, food and sweets, as well as gift vouchers and cash gifts will be the most common gifts given in Switzerland for Christmas 2021.

Swiss consumers want to spend more on gifts this year than in any year since we began our annual representative Christmas survey in 2009.At CHF 334 on average, it is 2% more than in 2020. A noteworthy point is that men would like to spend CHF 42 less than last year, while women have budgeted CHF 56 more than last year.

Coronavirus pandemic dampens Christmas spirit

The coronavirus pandemic and the associated supply bottlenecks are having an impact on Swiss consumers’ mood and Christmas errands: 58% of respondents say that their anticipation of Christmas and the pre-Christmas shopping experience is being dampened by the pandemic. The potential supply bottlenecks for many products have prompted 36% of the Swiss to do their Christmas shopping earlier than in other years. In addition, 80% of respondents expect rising prices.

Online retail booms while specialty stores are hard hit

For as many as 6 of the top 10 Christmas gifts, online shopping is already the most frequent purchasing option.

The main selling point of online retail   is its simple accessibility: at any time and from anywhere. Buying gifts at the click of a mouse is the first choice for 26% of respondents - a year ago, this figure was only 10%.

For tickets to events and smartphones/tablets, online shopping is preferred by one in two consumers, at minimum. However, specialty stores are still the most popular option this year for jewelry, home furnishings and  books. On the other hand, food and confectionery, is most frequently purchased in department stores.

Sustainability increasingly relevant at Christmas

Three out of four consumers say that sustainability plays at least a minor role for them in gift-giving and celebrating Christmas this year, and for just under one in four respondents it even plays a major role.

In particular, nearly one in three consumers wants to buy regional foods in this context. For 29% of consumers, sustainability relates to reducing or dispensing with packaging. A good one in five respondents said they wanted to make their own gifts instead of buying them, and almost as many wanted to do without a Christmas tree for sustainability reasons.

It is interesting to note that consumers surveyed planned an extra budget of CHF 45 on average for more sustainability.

Summary

The Corona pandemic is dampening the Christmas mood of almost 60% of those surveyed: 58% of say that their anticipation of Christmas and the pre-Christmas shopping experience will be dampened by the pandemic. 

Sustainability is an issue for 75% of respondents at Christmas; around half are planning additional costs for this.The possible supply shortages for many products have prompted 36% of the Swiss to do their Christmas shopping earlier than in other years.

Despite dampened mood, budgets for gifts are in 2021 higher than ever before. On average, Swiss consumers would like to spend 334 Swiss francs on Christmas gifts this year; this is a good 2% more than last year, when the previous highest figure was recorded. These are the results of EY's representative 2021 Christmas Survey in Switzerland.

About this article

By André M. Bieri

Markets Leader Switzerland & Liechtenstein

Married and proud father of two children, manages his own vineyard and likes kickboxing, biking and jogging.