Brits are among the biggest Christmas spenders in Europe, splashing out over a third more on the festive season than the majority of our neighbours.
UK shoppers will spend an average of £544 on all things festive this year – some 38% more than the European average.
The majority of spending will be dedicated to gifts (£284/€321), followed by food and drink (£141/€159), socialising (£63/€71) and travel (£56/€63).
Only Spaniards will spend more on Christmas – at £563 per shopper, with Italy in third spot (£470), according to consultancy Deloitte’s European Christmas survey.
The UK intends to spend 70% more on gifts than any other European nation surveyed. However, when it comes to food and drink, UK consumers lag some way behind the Spanish, who intend to spend €195 on this category alone.
Ian Geddes, North West Europe head of retail at Deloitte, said: “Following disappointing October sales figures, rising inflation and the first interest rate rise for more than 10 years, UK retailers will be holding their breath in the run up to Christmas.
“The retail industry should be buoyed by these spending intentions, as they will be hoping that momentum will return to the market at a time when cautious UK consumers continue to feel the squeeze on their spending.”
UK consumers are by far the most active online spenders in Europe, and are planning to spend 142% more on gifts and 207% more on food and drink online than the European average.
In addition, a fifth (21%) of consumers are planning to use digital wallets for their online spending.
Geddes said: “That being said, the physical store still has a role to play in Christmas shopping, with almost two-thirds of shoppers suggesting they will do some or all of their Christmas shopping in-store.
“Retailers need to ensure that they are providing the best customer experience possible for consumers both in-store and online.”
The majority of UK consumers expect to receive chocolate this Christmas (53%), followed by books (44%), food & drink (38%), cosmetics/perfume (38%) and money (38%).
Most teenagers expect to receive gifts of money, followed by computer games, books, chocolates and clothes/shoes.
Deloitte’s research also showed that UK consumers are planning to do the majority of their Christmas shopping in November (37%), with just 12% planning to shop in the week leading up to the 25th December.
Geddes said November is now the key month for purchases, with only one in eight people intending to tear round the shops in the week before Christmas.
In contrast, the rest of Europe tend to focus their spending on the month of December, reflecting more relaxed regulations on sales and promotions in the UK.