How Covid-19 Has Impacted Consumer Trends This Christmas

The team at Bobatoo conducted their annual Christmas spending survey to find out exactly how Coronavirus has affected the UK’s shopping plans for Xmas 2020. Here are the key results…
A woman doing her Christmas shopping online
By Bob Atoo
December 1, 2020

Every year since 2015, Bobatoo has carried out a survey asking shoppers in the UK about their spending plans for Christmas, helping find out how much the majority of consumers are planning to spend and who they’re planning to spend the most money on compared to last year.

This year in 2020, we have some surprising results as consumer spending and behaviour trends have completely shifted due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Some of the questions we asked include:

  • Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?
  • How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected your Christmas shopping planning and budget?
  • How many people are you buying gifts for this year?
  • What do you plan to spend the most money on?
  • How likely is it that you’ll stick to your Christmas budget?

To see all the questions and results from our survey, read our full guide here: Christmas Spending Survey 2020 - UK Results and Statistics

4 key statistics from our Christmas spending survey

Overall, Bobatoo’s survey revealed that the majority of UK consumers plan on spending a lot less this year compared to 2019, which is likely due to the fact that half of our survey respondents have been financially impacted by Covid-19 this year (48%).

155% increase in the number of shoppers spending less than they did in 2019

When consumers were asked if they are going to spend more or less than 2019 for Christmas this year, the majority of people (46%) said that they intend on spending less, which represents a 155% increase on last year’s results, where just 18% of people planned on spending less than they did in 2018.

Additionally, 44% of people questioned are planning on spending less than £100 on items other than gifts, which could be food, drink, decorations, games or anything else consumers wish to buy to make Christmas extra special this year. In 2019, just 29% of people were planning on spending less than £100 on similar items, highlighting just how much people are cutting back in 2020 due to Coronavirus and the uncertainty that has come with it.

In 2019, around 40% of UK consumers spent between £500 and more than £1,000 just on Christmas presents (not including food, decorations, etc), but it’s likely that spending will decrease significantly this year, with a lower 30% of people aiming to spend within this price range.

Around 40% of people in the UK may get more tailored gifts this year

When lockdown measures initially began in March 2020, this meant that many workers who had been furloughed due to being unable to work from home had the time to start up new hobbies while staying safe indoors.

According to Google’s data, some of the most popular hobbies acquired by Brits during lockdown were:

  • Learning a new language
  • Resistance band training
  • Yoga
  • DIY
  • Baking
  • Gardening

Our Christmas spending survey revealed that 36% of people had the time to get into a new hobby this year, meaning that loved ones may receive more thoughtful gifts this Christmas, tailored to their newly acquired hobbies.

77% of people are planning to shop online for Christmas gifts

This year, 1854 (77%) of our survey respondents plan to get most of their Christmas shopping by searching for deals online, and while online shopping has been becoming more and more popular in recent years, there is a significant jump compared to last year, where just 58% of shoppers planned on buying online.

This is undoubtedly due to the fact that many shops have been closed this year as a result of Covid-19 and consumers are less keen to venture out to shops now, particularly while Tier 1, 2 and 3 restrictions are being implemented across the UK.

Our study also reveals that consumers started their Christmas shopping later this year, with the majority getting a head-start in October and November (58%) and a proportion leaving it much later until December (19%). 

This suggests that shoppers are being extra careful with their money this year and have been holding out for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to save even more money on Christmas this year.

72% are buying for 10 people or less

Last year in 2019, 11% of survey participants had generous plans to buy Christmas presents for over 20 people, but this year, that percentage has decreased to just 5%. 

Overall, 72% of people are planning on purchasing Christmas gifts for 10 people or less this year (compared to 50% in 2019), which is very likely due to the fact that restrictions are being placed on certain areas, meaning that people are not able to visit distant relatives, friends or even colleagues to deliver gifts, in addition to many people being financially affected this year.

To see more interesting results and findings regarding consumer behaviour for Christmas 2020, head on over to our full article here: Christmas Spending 2020: Survey Results and UK Statistics

To see our results from previous years, see below: