The UK holiday season is certainly the most wonderful time of the year. Stuffing yourself with turkey and mince pies, before opening presents underneath a Christmas tree, can make any frightful mood turn delightful. But just how much does it all cost? We gathered some jolly Christmas stats that will surely get you in a festive mood.
Let’s sleigh away!
Recent Christmas facts for the UK forecast a year-on-year decreased average spending in almost all regions in 2020. While the greatest spending decline of £58 was expected in Yorkshire and Humberside, Christmas shoppers in Wales declared they would spend the same amount compared to the previous year (£420).
Expectedly, the largest decline in per capita spending was recorded in the clothing and footwear category, falling from £53.86 in 2019 to £28.55 in 2020. However, certain categories recorded a slight increase in spending, such as consumer electronics from £47.41 to £52.15.
Christmas retail shopping was expected to decline in 2020 for various reasons, the most important of which was the detrimental economic effects of Covid-19. Another 28% of respondents also said they planned to save some money since they were not visiting brick-and-mortar stores for 2020’s Christmas.
Other prominent factors for spending less included the uncertainty of seeing friends and family, the expectancy of a return gift, and lockdown restrictions.
(Office for National Statistics)
Clothing stores recorded the biggest retail month-on-month growth (21.5%) in December 2020, as they recovered from the pandemic-induced losses of November (19.6%).
Overall, the Christmas 2020 retail sales’ value and volume (excl. automotive fuel) improved by 5.5% and 6.4% year-on-year, respectively.
Mintec’s UK Christmas Dinner Index for 2020 identified the disruptions caused by Covid-19, Brexit, and the weather as the main factors in the overall food price increases in 2020. However, while wheat, carrots, turkey, and parsnips were more expensive, the other raw products, as well as the price for the Christmas pudding, remained stable or even lowered.
MoneySuperMarket’s research on Xmas sales in the UK suggests that 30% of Christmas goers thought of spending £30 to £60 per head, while another 8% expected to fork out much more, naming prices of £70-£100 per head.
An online survey conducted in November 2020 showed that 54% of the UK’s Christmas shoppers get their loved ones a gift before December, while 22% do their shopping in the first days of December. The remainder put off this task for the week(s) before Christmas, and some even decided not to partake in the gift-giving tradition (5%).
Per a 2020 expenditure report, UK towns and cities are blowing out an average Christmas spending of £292 on lights and decorations per 1,000 people.
Looking at the most generous cities, Glasgow takes the crown with an overall average spend of £419,685. On the other hand, Dundee recorded the highest spending per thousand people—over four times larger than the nation’s average of £293.
When it comes to party poopers, Barnsley was declared the least generous city, spending an average of £6,128 per year, equating to only £25 per 1,000 inhabitants.
A 2020 internet survey on Christmas gift sales revealed that the vast majority (75%) prefer doing their holiday shopping online. Over half of all respondents (52%) also said they would go to brick-and-mortar stores. The least favourite options were the various marketplaces, from Christmas markets (21%) to flea markets (7%).
The latest Christmas gift sales statistics demonstrate that over half of UK shoppers (57%) weren’t intending on getting sustainable presents for Christmas 2020. However, while a significant 65% of the 18 to 24 year-olds are choosing sustainable gifts, only 32% of seniors above 65 years of age do the same.
Almost a third of UK respondents (30%) also said they preferred shopping online for precaution. However, 29% were still determined to celebrate Christmas in the UK as they always did. Unfortunately, 17% were not getting into the Christmas spirit in 2020.
According to YouGov’s 2019 research, advent calendars have become a popular gift in recent years, with 49% of surveyed Brits saying they will receive one. However, only 26% of those stated they were excited to open them. As for the gender divide, 33% of women were looking forward to getting chocolate or other goodies in an advent calendar, opposed to 19% of men.
Results from the same survey on Christmas shopping in the UK also showed that 46% of online customers fancied getting their Christmas gifts from several different platforms. Whereas the remainder (9%) stated they didn’t know.
GLG’s online survey also reveals that only 10% of retailers expected a decline in sales compared to 2020. Similarly, most respondents anticipated slower growth in online sales in 2021, with 73% expecting growth between 1% and 25%.
Shockingly, 90% of the respondents in the same survey believed in-store sales would go back to their pre-Covid-19 percentages or even go above. Only 7% thought the Christmas stats of physical stores would drop even lower than their pre-Covid-19 levels.
The Christmas retail trends for Christmas 2021 are expected to reflect 2019’s patterns as Covid-19 restrictions lessen for 2021’s holiday season. Despite anticipated declines in food and beverage sales, which will drive an overall 2.3% decrease in sales, an increase of 1.7% in non-food sales is expected to even the scales.
During a 2020 survey with multiple-answer questions, most respondents chose Amazon for Christmas presents shopping. On the other hand, eBay was represented by only 34% of consumers. Only Argos.co.uk had a bigger share than eBay at 42%. A small fraction of all respondents chose the remainder of online retailers.
The pandemic certainly affected Christmas shopping in the UK. Namely, almost half of the surveyed consumers said they are changing to online shopping for the 2020 Christmas season. Visits to brick-and-mortar stores were less desirable, as expected, with 22% declaring they are less likely to buy in person. Surprisingly, another 31% said they would not shop via social media.
In addition to the two-thirds of under 25s getting all or most of their presents via the internet, almost 60% of those between 25 and 49 years of age also chose this option. However, due to the Covid-19 situation, even 44% of seniors above 65 years of age were considering getting all or most presents online.
Other fun UK Christmas facts about the centrepiece of the holiday festivities—the Christmas tree:
(Office for National Statistics) (V8 Juice)
In 2018, the ONS revealed that the people’s favourite Christmas food is brussels sprouts, which would stretch all the way to Sydney if lined up. However, Brits would do well to be less wasteful since only half of these hundreds of millions of brussels sprouts end up eaten.
In other Christmas food facts, the UK is a nation that eats around 10 million turkeys during Christmastime, which have been gracing the festive tables since the 1950s. In percentages, around three-quarters of consumers opt for turkeys instead of geese or chickens.
Just who cooks all of this delicious food though? Well, ONS’s surveys say that women cook for 63.82 minutes daily, compared to men’s 36.13 minutes.
One of the more unusual UK Christmas facts relates to the types of drinks most consumed during the winter holidays. While almost 30% were white wine enjoyers, another 25% went with red wine. Prosecco and beer had a share of 19% and 18%, respectively. Only 15% decided to consume non-alcoholic beverages for Christmas 2020.
A YouGov RealTime research conducted before Christmas 2020 revealed that 14% of surveyed Britons decided to travel during the week of Christmas, while 2% stated that they had already gone abroad. These numbers show a significant change from 2019 when 56% of respondents said they were spending Christmas at home—an expected change due to the pandemic.
(Office for National Statistics)
Only 102 marriages were happily concluded between 1996 and 2015, averaging five weddings per year. In other weird Christmas facts: 207 ‘Hollys’, 166 ‘Angels’, 37 ‘Stars’, 5 ‘Merrys’, and 4 ‘Gifts’ babies were born on Christmas 2017.
(The Fact Site)
In addition to the main commonwealth countries, the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, which celebrate this day as Boxing Day, other European countries also consider it a national holiday, including Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Norway, and many more.
In other random Christmas facts, the holiday’s name and traditions may vary depending on the location. For example, while the Irish call it Saint Stevens Day, it’s known as the Day of Goodwill in South Africa, during which citizens help the less fortunate.
The ‘White Christmas’, widely referred to in popular culture, originates from the 16th and 19th centuries when the lower-than-normal temperatures often brought snow during Christmastime. Nowadays, only Christmas enjoyers from the Northern Hemisphere are typically blessed with white Christmases since those in the South celebrate the holiday during the summer. Aussies and the likes will have to imagine a dreamlike wintery Christmas when singing some of the most known carols.
When talking about Christmas song facts, we should also mention that “Silent Night” has been copyrighted a whopping 733 times since 1978. However, the best-selling Christmas single title goes to 1942’s “White Christmas”, whose sales exceed 100 million among all artists.
(Box Office Mojo)
This computer-animated film released in 2018 has earned over $512 million as of October 2021. That sure is a lot of Christmas dinners!
Coming at second place, the 90s’ cult classic ‘Home Alone’ has grossed a total of $476.7 million—making it the highest-grossing live-action film in history.
The latest research from the GWP Group reveals that Brits produce and throw away 30% more rubbish during the winter holidays than the rest of the year. Furthermore, around 108 million rolls of Xmas wrapping paper are binned each year.
The extra waste is estimated to weigh approximately 3 million tonnes, with part of it consisting of 54 million platefuls of discarded Christmas food. On top of that, about 500 tonnes of Christmas lights are thrown away as well. How about unwanted Christmas gifts? Landfills receive a donation of presents valued at £42 million.
Packaging isn’t the only waste Brits produce. The same GWP Group survey also covered Christmas food facts, which reveal that five million puddings and 2 million kilos of cheese will also be binned during a typical Christmas. Regardless of their deliciousness, even 74 million mince pies are discarded out of 175 million bought.
Christmas in the UK is undoubtedly a period filled with joy, and Brits don’t hesitate to break the piggy bank for their loved ones. However, the impact of Covid-19 on our budgets is evident, making the cost of Christmas a bit harder to cover during the pandemic. Still, the above Christmas stats show us that the 2020 holiday season was the biggest to date. So, might we expect a similar outcome in December 2021?
Bojana is my name and writing is my game. I am a content writer from Bitola who is always interested in the latest research in almost all areas of life. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a perfectionist character, both of which help me find the most accurate data and information available. Although I have my head stuck in studies and reports most of the time, I still have a bit of free time during which I enjoy knitting and watching classic 90’s Disney movies.