Christmas Spending Survey 2020 - UK Results and Statistics

This year, 2,400 people were asked about their spending and shopping plans for Christmas 2020. See how Covid-19 has impacted consumer behaviour below...

Questions asked:

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?

Who do you plan to spend the most money on?

How much will you spend on Christmas presents per child and how much will you spend on your partner/spouse?

How much are you planning to spend on Christmas presents in total?

How much did you spend on Christmas presents last year in total?

How much do you plan to spend on other items this Christmas? (food, drink, decorations, etc.)

How likely is it that you'll stick to your Christmas budget?

Will you spend more or less than last year?

Will you do most of your Christmas shopping in-store or online?

Have you taken up a new hobby this year thanks to lockdown measures

The lead up to Christmas 2020 has been completely different this year, as the Coronavirus pandemic has, unfortunately, had an unexpected impact on not only our plans to spend time with loved ones, but our finances, too. 

As a result, consumer behaviour and trends in the UK have altered significantly this year compared to last, so at Bobatoo, our aim was to survey British shoppers to get a better understanding of how Covid-19 has and will continue to have an impact on the actions of consumers during these festive yet uncertain times.

Since 2015, Bobatoo has surveyed thousands of people across the UK every year to find out about people’s intentions for their Christmas shopping. 

This year in 2020, a little over 2,400 people in the UK participated in our survey, answering a host of questions relating to their Christmas spending plans, such as when they started their Xmas shopping (online or in-store), how much they intend to spend and who they plan to spend the most money on. 

The results are now in and we’ve got the latest Christmas spending statistics below that show just how the crisis has affected shoppers’ spending plans in the UK.


Covid-19 splits the UK in half with 50% of those surveyed being financially impacted

Covid-19 splits the UK in half with 50% of those surveyed being financially impacted

Our participants were asked whether or not their financial situation has been negatively affected this year as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, and it seems we have a complete 50/50 divide amongst the UK, with 1262 Brits stating that Covid has not affected their finances (52%), while a slightly lower 1146 admitted that the crisis has had a knock-on effect on them financially.

On top of this, we found out that despite this 50/50 split, 64% of people (1549) have said that their Christmas shopping plans have been affected as a result of Covid-19 and the social distancing measures enforced, not to mention shop closures.


Consumers tighten their belts for Christmas 2020 with a 155% increase in those spending less than in 2019

brits spend less on christmas 2020

We asked our surveyors whether or not they intend on spending more or less money in 2020 compared to last year, and there was a significant difference with most of those questioned (1104) stating that they will be spending less than they did in 2019, most likely due to the uncertainty 2020 has brought us all.

Surprisingly, 776 people (32%) said they plan on spending the same amount as they did last year and 11% have generous plans to spend even more!

In 2019, only 18% of those we surveyed planned on spending less than they did in 2018, showing just how much Covid has impacted people’s spending plans for Xmas. This means that 2020 has seen a whopping 155% increase in the number of people planning to spend less this Christmas compared to last due to the different number of people surveyed this year.


Brits are pinching their pennies this year as we see 52% sticking to their budget

52% of brits are sticking to their christmas budget in 2020

After the year we’ve had, it seems that the majority of people in the UK are aiming to tighten the reins on their Christmas spending this year.

Last year in 2019, 31% of respondents said they were likely to stick to their shopping budget and 10% of people thought they were probably going to spend a lot more than their target.

This year, however, a higher proportion of people - 52% - are planning on staying true to their Christmas shopping budget, suggesting that many are either focussing on putting their money into a savings pot rather than splashing out on extravagant gifts or they are financially limited this year due to Covid-19. Overall, this represents a 68% increase in the number of Brits looking to go easy this Xmas.

As there seems to be a large amount of people who have been financially hit this year and seen their Christmas budget significantly impacted, we asked why that was.


Over 40% of Brits financially impacted by Covid-19 has been due to reductions in work income and redundancy

Over 40% of Brits financially impacted by Covid-19 has been due to reductions in work income and redundancy

Participants who admitted to having their Xmas spending budget affected due to the Coronavirus outbreak were asked “How has Covid-19 affected your budget?”

As you can see from the chart above, over half of our respondents’ Christmas budget has been affected because they have understandable concerns over the uncertainty of the future and what Covid-19 may bring later down the line. This also implies that many people are holding back from spending this year and are instead putting money to one side in case of a potential job loss or harsher lockdown measures being enforced in the near future.

Following this, the main reasons for people being financially impacted and subsequently impacting their Christmas spending are down to employees facing less working hours due to business cutbacks, being made redundant or furloughed. 

Additionally, some survey participants have said that their budget has been affected due to their partner losing their job, the pricey shipping costs associated with certain gifts online and being self-employed.


40% of UK could receive more thoughtful gifts this year due to new lockdown hobbies

40% of UK could receive more thoughtful gifts this year due to new lockdown hobbies

Something positive to think about this year is the fact that a large proportion of the UK now have new hobbies thanks to lockdown measures freeing up a lot of people’s time, particularly workers who were unable to work from home, were furloughed or lost their job.

Our survey revealed that 869 people (36%) had the chance to take up a new hobby this year, while a larger 60% (1539) were not able to focus on something new, possibly due to many employees continuing to work remotely and therefore not having the time.

With this in mind, those you know who’ve managed to get into something new this year may receive more hobby-tailored gifts from their loved ones in Xmas 2020.


Consumers decide to stay safe during the Covid-19 pandemic this Christmas with a 33% increase in those choosing to shop online

33% increase in those choosing to shop online

It comes to no surprise that in recent years, online shopping at Christmas time has been growing in popularity, mainly due to the convenience, cost and efficiency. 

Despite this, Brits generally love heading out to the high-street shops and local markets during the festive season, but this year, Covid has caused a substantial decrease in the number of people planning to shop in-store (if local lockdown rules apply).

Last year, 58% of UK consumers planned on doing the majority of their Christmas shopping online, with 38% of shoppers planning to hit the shops to seek out gifts.

This year, however, the number of people planning to shop online for Christmas gifts has shot up to 77% and those hoping to head to the high-street has decreased to just 23%.

If lockdown measures in your local area allow and depending on what Tier your area is placed in, shoppers will hopefully still be able to purchase items locally to support smaller businesses as non-essential shops are due to reopen across England, reduce shipping costs and make Christmas that bit extra special with a unique gift.


Retail closures caused by Covid-19 delay Christmas shopping this year with a 39% increase in those surveyed planning to start in December

delayed xmas shopping

In 2019, around 57% of UK shoppers said that they usually start their Christmas shopping in October and November, with some people getting ahead of the game even before July (12%) and another proportion of people leaving it later until December (13%).

This year, however, it seems that a higher proportion of the nation is leaving their shopping to the last minute, with 19% of consumers planning to start in December 2020 (39% increase on last year), which could be down to the fact that many shops have been closed for the majority of the year, and potentially due to consumers’ financial situations.

The majority of UK consumers planned to spend their money on Xmas gifts in November this year (32%), suggesting that many shoppers may have been waiting all year to grab themselves some Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargains - making sure they save even more money this Christmas.

Additionally, a smaller 26% of people also admitted to looking for deals on gifts back in October this year.


In 2019, almost 40% of Brits spent between £500 and over £1,000 on Christmas presents alone

brits spend between £500 and over £1000 on Christmas

While it seems that a lot of Christmas shoppers went a little overboard last year, 2020 has seen a decrease from around 40% to 30% regarding the number of people spending between £500 and more than £1,000 just on gifts.

This implies that overall, the majority of the UK are trying their best to cut back this year after everything that’s happened.


Consumers look to spend more on partners and children this year as visiting family members becomes difficult during the Covid-19 pandemic

Increase in spending on partners and children

Out of the 2,408 people we surveyed in the UK, nearly half of those (49%) said that they will be spending the most money on their children this Christmas, which is a 22% increase on last year’s results. 

In 2019, only 6% of survey respondents were planning on spending the most money on their partner, but we’ve seen a 201% increase in 2020 as 18% look to splash out on their other half this time around.

The amount of people admitting to spending the most on family members has also decreased by 22% this year, suggesting that local lockdown measures are putting people off buying presents (or as many gifts) for those they are unable to see.


With the unknowns of a Christmas lockdown, 72% of UK consumers are planning to buy for 10 people or less

143% increase in number of people being bought for this year

This year, we’ve noticed that a significant proportion of our respondents (72%) will be buying Xmas gifts for 10 or less people, which is a 143% increase on last year’s results, where a huge 38% of those surveyed had plans to buy for up to 20 people!

2020, has seen a 39% reduction in the number of people spending money on up to 20 people, suggesting that Brits are buying for their local loved ones, rather than those who they may be unable to see such as distant friends, family members and colleagues, particularly for those currently working from home.

It is also worth noting that from 3rd December, Tier 2 and 3 restrictions are going to be implemented for nearly all of England, where a “uniform set of measures” will apply to each Tier system until Spring 2021. 

Whether your area is placed in Tier 1, 2 or 3, there will be certain limits on gatherings and rules regarding face coverings but non-essential shops will reopen, meaning that shoppers might be able to head to the high-street to buy gifts before Christmas, but they may be limited in the number of people they can give to this year due to Tier restrictions.


You may need to BYOB to the dinner table this year, with a 53% increase in those looking to spend less than £100 on festive items (food, drink, decs, etc)

 53% increase in those looking to spend less than £100 on festive items in 2020

Aside from gifts, when it comes to spending money on other Christmas related items such as food, drink, decorations, cards, games, the majority of people we asked last year were looking to spend up to £200 altogether (44%). 

This year, however, 44% of people are looking to spend less than £100 on these type of items this year, which is most likely due to the fact that a lot of indoor events and gatherings have been cancelled.


There’s no denying that 2020 has been a turbulent, uncertain and financially-testing year, and our results from this year’s survey reflect just how budgets and plans can change significantly after a major global pandemic.

Whatever your plans are for Christmas 2020, the team at Bobatoo would like to wish you a very merry Xmas 2020! Please find the main statistics from our survey below.

*If you would like to see the raw data from our Christmas spending survey, please contact us via email: [email protected]

Key findings


The majority of Christmas shopping will be done online - 77%

More people are planning to buy for 10 people or less this year - 72%

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected consumers' Christmas shopping plans - 64%

More people are trying to stick to their budget this year - 52%

Half of respondents are worried about the future, which has affected their spending plans - 50%

Most parents will spend the most money on children and partners this year - 49% and 18% respectively

Nearly half of those asked have had their financial situation affected this year due to the Coronavirus - 48%

46% of Brits intend on spending less this year, compared to 2019

More people plan on spending less than £100 on other things like food, drink and decorations this Christmas - 44%

More people are planning on spending less than £100 on their partner/spouse - 42%

In 2019, Brits spent between £500 and over £1,000 on Christmas presents in total - 40%

The main reasons for Covid-19 affecting people's Christmas budget are reduced hours and redundancies - Over 40%

Most people planned to start their Christmas shopping in October (26%) and November (32%), with 19% of those asked starting in December