Christmas Spending Statistics, Trends, and Fun Facts (US & UK)

Christmas shopping is one of the biggest holidays with shoppers spending over $1 trillion in the United States and shoppers in the UK spending over £2 billion.

From decorations to presents, to parties, to cards many shoppers will save all year for the spending they use on the Christmas holiday.

The Christmas holiday is by far the biggest shopping holiday in the United States, United Kingdom, and many other countries around the world.

Who Are Most Likely to Participate in Christmas Shopping?

With so many people celebrating the Christmas holiday in both the United States and the United Kingdom, the shopping is fairly equal across gender as well as many of the age ranges although the amount each demographic is planning to spend tends to vary. Some of the statistics about who is buying for the Christmas season include:

  • While the percentage of men and women that shop for Christmas is fairly equal, men tend to spend more for a holiday with an average spend of over $725 for men and $609 for women in the U.S. and over £410 for men and £373 for women in the U.K.
  • Gen Xers account for highest spending with an average of $782 in the U.S. and £425 in the U.K.
  • Millenials will spend the second most on holiday with the U.S. average of $609 and a U.K. average of £416.
  • The lowest spending amount is with Baby Boomers who will spend an average of $576 in the U.S. and £350 in the U.K.

Who Are Buyers Purchasing Gifts For?

From loved ones to family, to friends, to co-workers, shoppers try and include everyone during the Christmas season. Some interesting facts about who gifts are being purchased for are:

  • Consumers will spend more than $5 million on their pets for Christmas.

  • Shoppers will spend seven times more on their family then they will work on their coworkers.

When Are Consumers Most Likely to Buy for Christmas?

The Christmas season offers sales on everything from clothes, to toys, to gift packages making it one of the most diverse purchasing holidays of the year. Even with the wide variety of gift options available, most Christmas purchases fall into one of the categories listed below.

61%
of adults will purchase clothing and accessories.
30%
of consumers will spend money on electronics.
20%
of buyers will simply give cash as a gift.
  • Gift card purchases are made by 56% of all shoppers.
  • 44% of shoppers will by some form of media items such as games, videos, books, or music.
  • Toys are bought by 42% of all shoppers.
  • Food or candy purchases are made by 31% of buyers.
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    Personal care and health and beauty items will be purchased by 25% of shoppers.
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    21% of those buying Christmas gifts will purchase one or more pieces of jewelry.
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    20% of shoppers will go buy something from the furnishings or home decor department.
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    The sporting goods and leisure section will see 17% of shoppers making a purchase.

How Are Consumers Paying for Their Purchases?

With the large volume of money spent for the Christmas holiday, there are many different ways in which buyers will choose to fund their holiday purchases. The two top ways in which buyers will pay for their purchases is by credit card or savings through the use of each varies in each demographic.

  • Savings is the most common way for buyers to pay for their purchase with over 68% of consumers in the U.S. using savings and over 80% in the U.K.
  • Credit cards are another popular way to pay for Christmas shopping with over 55% of consumers choosing to use this method in the U.S. and over 38% of U.K. shoppers.
  • Over 5% of shoppers in the United States borrowed money from family or friends for shopping while 8.9% in the U.K. did the same.
  • Payday loans were used for 5.4% of purchases for Christmas shopping in the U.S. with 12.6% of U.K. shops relying on them for their shopping.
  • 5.5% of shoppers will take out a personal loan to make their Christmas purchases with 9.1% in the U.K. doing the same.

What Do Buyers Spend on Decorations and Events?

Christmas purchases are not limited to buying gifts, during the holiday season consumers will spend is a large number of their budgets on things for parties and events such as food and also spend a portion of their budget on Christmas trees and other holiday decorations.

  • Consumers spend an average of $200 each on decorations each Christmas season.

  • On average consumers will spend $50 or more on flowers, cards, and postage.

  • On average U.K. consumers will spend £32 on decorations and £225 on food and drink for the season.

  • $2.2 billion will be used to purchase over 400 million Christmas trees for the season.

Lesser Known Facts About Christmas Shopping

While it seems like there may be nothing left to find out about Christmas shopping below are some facts that just might surprise you.

  • The average shopper will spend over $100 on themselves during Christmas shopping
  • Retailers utilize Christmas music during the holidays because it tends to attract customers into their doors.
  • Some of the tactics retailers use to entice consumers into their store include visual tricks, gift offers, and notices that the sale is ending soon.
  • The busiest shopping day is no longer Black Friday but the Saturday before Christmas.
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    Retailers lose more than $3 billion a year due to return fraud with the highest rate being the return of stolen merchandise.
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    Shoppers who are single will make impulse purchases 45% more often than married ones.
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    46% of all holiday shopping occurs online.
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    12% of U.K. shoppers will do all of their Christmas shopping at the last minute.
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    Chocolate is the number one gift for adults in the U.K. with the top gift for teenagers being books or money.
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    December 15 through the 24th will account for 40% of all Christmas sales.
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    Holiday shopping can account for up to 30% of all retail sales.
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    21% of shoppers will do their shopping via a mobile device.
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    UPS will ship an average of 630 million packages during the holiday season.
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    45% of buyers say they plan on doing holiday shopping at the grocery store.
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    The EPA reports an increase of waste by 25% over the Christmas season.

In Conclusion

Christmas shopping continues to rise year after year. With sales rising over a trillion dollars there seems to no slow down to the amount of spending that Christmas shoppers will make.

Whether consumers save all year to make their Christmas season one they will never forget, or put themselves into debt to complete their shopping, many people will continue to celebrate the season by spending.

While this level of spending may not be ideal for those who are exceeding their means, the holiday shopping season is definitely an important part of the economy and the growth of retail stores in both the United States and the United Kingdom.