Are you a Scrooge or Santa? Christmas spending around the UK revealed

9 October 2017
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Consumers are preparing to spend a record £20 billion on Christmas this year but the spending variations around the UK are surprising.

According to research from Halifax Bank, one in five (18%) people plan on spending more this year than in 2016 on Christmas.

But the research also found considerable regional and gender differences when it comes to per person spending on Christmas 2016, with children bumping up the cost of Christmas significantly.

Halifax found that UK consumers spent on average £452.41 each on Christmas in 2016. Top of the list of spending were gifts for friends and family, the Christmas meal, and alcohol.

For instance, Londoners spent on average a mere £408.26 on Christmas, despite London being the region with the highest levels of disposable income at £25,293 on average (income available after tax, benefits and social contributions). Extraordinarily, the region with the highest average spend was the North East, spending £663.78 per person. This much higher spend is astonishing, in a region with lowest average disposable income in the UK, £16,197. 

Women on average spent 15% more than men (£482.21 vs £419.33). Worryingly, one in six (16%) people admitted in the survey that they took up to a whole year to pay off the cost of their Christmas splurge.

The bank also found a big variation between people with and without children. In the East of England, people with children spent 142% more than those without (£550.40 vs £227.16). While in the North West, the relative difference was the smallest at 61% (£617.62 vs £382.98).

See the graph below for a regional breakdown of average disposable income, compared to average Christmas spending per person.  

Start saving now

To cover those costs without resorting to credit, individuals would need to save £41 every week from now until 25 December according to Halifax.

Giles Martin, head of savings at the bank says: “Although it feels like summer has only just passed, it’s not long until the festive period, and some shops are already starting to sell festive stock.

“To avoid a bill shock, it’s worth starting to save now to spread the cost over several months. It’s reassuring to see that one in 10 of us already do this, and save through the year or use a savings account to save up for big events such as Christmas.”

Full table with regional spending and income variations below.

Region

Gross disposable household income (i)

Amount spent on Christmas per person (ii)

London

£25,293

£408.26

South East

£21,808

£458.95

East of England

£19,796

£408.77

South West

£19,128

£422.37

Scotland

£18,315

£512.28

East Midlands

£16,935

£412.54

North West

£16,915

£522.82

West Midlands

£16,559

£432.19

Wales

£16,341

£436.73

Yorkshire and the Humber

£16,267

£390.75

North East

£16,197

£663.78

i. ONS gross disposable household income (GDHI) 2015.
ii. Halifax Bank, October 2017.

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