- The corona pandemic is dampening the Christmas spirit of almost 60% of Swiss respondents.
- Spending planned for Christmas gifts reaches an all-time high, averaging over CHF 330.
- Sustainability is an issue for 75% of respondents at Christmas; with around half planning to spend extra on it.
The corona pandemic and the associated supply shortages are having an impact on the mood and Christmas procurements of Swiss consumers: 58% of respondents say that their anticipation of Christmas and the pre-Christmas shopping experience is being dampened by the pandemic. The possible 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 prices to rise. These are the results of EY’s representative 2021 Christmas Survey in Switzerland.
Higher spending despite gloomy mood
On average, respondents plan to spend CHF 334 on Christmas gifts this year; this is a good 2% more than last year, when the previous high was recorded. “Planned spending is at an all-time high this year - this is probably thanks to the pandemic in particular, as many consumers have more money available that could not be spent over the last few months,” says André Bieri, Partner and Markets Leader Switzerland and Liechtenstein at EY.
It is striking that men are planning to spend an average of CHF 351 on Christmas presents this year, which is CHF 42 less than in 2020, while women are planning to spend an average of CHF 320, CHF 56 more than in 2020.
50 percent of the consumers surveyed plan to spend more than CHF 250 on Christmas presents this year, and almost one in five respondents even aim to spend more than CHF 500 on Christmas presents. Only 11 percent of respondents, on the other hand, do not want to invest more than CHF 100.
Gift vouchers before clothing and toys
When it comes to the type of gift, respondents tend to be more traditional: of the average budget of CHF 334, the most is spent on vouchers or cash gifts (CHF 45). This is followed by clothes and toys (CHF 41 each), cosmetics (CHF 36), food/confectionery (CHF 30), jewelry (CHF 29), and printed books (CHF 21). Only CHF 20 of the budget is spent on electronic gadgets such as smartphones or tablets.
A comparison of the sexes shows that women on average spend more on toys than men. Conversely, men clearly prioritize the gift category of smartphones, tablets, and wearables. Men spend CHF 11.8 more on such electronic devices than women.
Online trade is booming – specialist shops are suffering
As in the previous year, consumers in Switzerland favor traditional Christmas shopping in local shops and stores: Two out of five of those surveyed buy their Christmas gifts here. Buying gifts online is still the first choice for 26% of respondents – a year ago, this share was only 10%.
The marked increase in online retailing is also reflected in market share: department stores/shopping centers account for the largest market share at 34%: consumers in Switzerland plan to spend around CHF 114 on Christmas gifts here this year.
“The pandemic acted as an accelerator here, stationary forms of distribution are losing significant ground, while online retail is booming and has doubled its market share compared to 2020 - from 16% to currently 33%. This trend will not reverse even after the pandemic,” explains EY partner André Bieri. Specialist stores and markets are among the losers this year: the Swiss still want to spend a whole CHF 76 of their budget in these stores. Compared to last year, this is a drop of CHF 37 or almost a third.
Sustainability at Christmas – what can it cost?
Three out of four consumers say that sustainability aspects play a role for them this year when buying gifts and celebrating Christmas. For 24% of respondents, sustainability even plays a major role, according to their own statements. 79 percent of women think about the environment and climate when they make their Christmas procurements, while the sustainability aspect influences shopping and celebrating for around 70% of men. “Sustainability is likely to continue to play a central role in the future, especially during the Christmas season, as people want to do something good for themselves and the environment at least once a year,” says André Bieri.
51 percent of respondents are prepared to spend more for increased sustainability. On average, consumers plan an extra budget of CHF 45 for more sustainability.
The demand for sustainability is implemented above all in the selection of gifts (37%). Respondents are increasingly opting for regional foods (32%) or reducing/eliminating packaging and wrapping paper (29%). A good one in five respondents said they wanted to make their own gifts instead of buying them (22%); almost as many even wanted to do without a Christmas tree for reasons of sustainability (21%).
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About EY’s Christmas Survey 2021 in Switzerland
On behalf of EY in Switzerland, an independent market research institute surveyed over 500 Swiss consumers from November 20 to December 4 about their Christmas gift buying intentions and habits. The survey focused exclusively on planned purchases of Christmas gifts and not on general consumer behavior in the run-up to Christmas. The survey has been conducted annually since 2009 with the exception of 2013 and 2019. Where useful and meaningful, the results of the studies from 2009 to 2020 have been included.
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EY’s organization is represented in Switzerland by Ernst & Young Ltd, Basel, with 10 offices across Switzerland, and in Liechtenstein by Ernst & Young AG, Vaduz. In this publication, “EY” and “we” refer to Ernst & Young Ltd, Basel, a member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited.