- This year’s planned budget for Christmas averages CHF 327, more than ever before in the last decade.
- The most popular Christmas presents in 2020 include food and confectionery, gift vouchers and money, toys, books and cosmetics.
- Men and childless couples tend to spend more, women less – people living in Zurich are generous, while those living in Ticino are thrifty.
Swiss consumers are not letting the corona pandemic spoil this year’s Christmas shopping. They want to enjoy themselves and make lavish gifts to their nearest and dearest. This is shown by the representative 2020 Christmas survey of 400 consumers in Switzerland conducted by the auditing and consulting firm EY Switzerland: the planned average budget for Christmas presents this year is CHF 327 per person. This is more than ever before in the last ten years – the previous peak was recorded in 2018 at CHF 310.
On the other hand, there is a clear shift between women and men compared with 2018: while men are likely to spend an average of CHF 65 more on gifts this year (CHF 393), women are planning to spend CHF 27 less (CHF 264). While families with children have not changed their gift budget (CHF 399), it has increased by CHF 59 (to CHF 366) for childless couples. Singles spend on average CHF 221.
Between CHF 150 and 356, depending on region
There are also differences between the various regions in Switzerland: consumers from the Zurich region surveyed were particularly generous this year and are planning on an average Christmas gift budget of CHF 356. According to the survey, the residents of Ticino are the thriftiest with an average spend of CHF 150. The other averages for Christmas presents are CHF 336 in the Lake Geneva region, CHF 333 in Eastern Switzerland, CHF 317 in the Mittelland, CHF 311 in Northwestern Switzerland and CHF 298 in Central Switzerland.
Martin Gröli, Partner and Head of Retail and Consumer Products at EY in Switzerland, commented: “We have had an exceptionally challenging year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people are worried about the future or have lost relatives. Despite or perhaps because of this difficult time, they now want to do something good for themselves and their families at Christmas.”
He added: “Having said that, seven out of ten respondents indicated that their anticipation of the festive season and the pre-Christmas shopping experience was clouded by the current circumstances and restrictions.”
Toys top the gift list
More gifts are bought at this time than at any other time, either in the first two weeks of December (44%) or in the two weeks before Christmas (15%). The most popular seem to be toys on which the average spend is CHF 58, followed by gift vouchers or money (CHF 57), food and confectionery (CHF 46), books (CHF 27) and cosmetics (CHF 24).
“Board games have become much more popular again in Switzerland since the first lockdown in spring, a trend now also being seen in Christmas presents. Given the ongoing pandemic, it comes as no surprise that there are far fewer gifts for travel and visits to events this year,” said EY Partner and consumer goods expert Martin Gröli.
Department stores, shopping centers, and specialist shops are preferred
Interestingly, EY’s recent Christmas survey shows that Christmas shopping is still incredibly popular despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Of the 400 consumers surveyed, 61% said they would buy Christmas presents in department stores/shopping centers and specialist shops again this year. Only 10% of those surveyed prefer buying online, while 29% use both options.
Martin Gröli said: “Our survey shows that Swiss consumers appreciate shopping over the counter, especially when it comes to Christmas shopping, despite corona. They can assess the products directly and have access to expert advice if necessary. The tactile, sensual, and emotional perception falls by the wayside on the internet. Online purchases can be made around the clock and from home, which helps protect their health.”
The representative study is based on a telephone survey of 400 consumers by an independent market research institute. It was conducted in all parts of the country between November 11 and December 7, 2020. The subject of the survey was exclusively planned purchases of Christmas gifts, not general consumer behavior in the pre-Christmas period.
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