The majority of consumers are expecting to spend as much on their Christmas shopping as they did last year. Online shoppers, young women and families with children are most willing to extend their Christmas budget. Households without children, on the other hand, are most likely to cut back on their festive spending.

According to a recent Christmas spending survey of the Finnish Commerce Federation, nearly 70 per cent of consumers are planning to keep their Christmas budget at last year’s level. Some 10 per cent of consumers are going to splash out more than last year, whereas almost one in five is planning to cut their Christmas budget compared to last year.

The Uusimaa region is where consumption is likely to increase the most, as 16 per cent of consumers are set to buy more than last Christmas. Western Finland, on the other hand, is home to the most frugal spenders: more than 20 per cent of consumers are going to curtail their spending from last year.

Women are most eager to both increase and decrease their Christmas shopping compared to last year. As many as 21 per cent of women under 40 years of age are planning to increase their spending, but at the same time, 23 per cent of women over 40 are going to tighten their belts.

In addition to youngish women, families with children under school age or teenagers are going to ramp up their spending. Some 20 per cent of such families intend to spend more than last year. Instead, only 12 per cent of families with 7–12-year-old children are expecting to increase their consumption.

According to the survey, more than one in four consumers is going to do some of their Christmas shopping online. However, the willingness to use e-commerce for Christmas shopping varies extensively from one age group to another. People aged 50 or older shop online significantly less than younger people. Parents of children under school age are particularly keen to use e-commerce, as almost half of them are planning to do some Christmas shopping online.

“Hopefully Finnish businesses manage to attract consumers who actively use several different channels, because these are the people who are most willing to increase their consumption,” says Jaana Kurjenoja, Chief Economist of the Finnish Commerce Federation.

One in five online shoppers is expecting to spend more than last Christmas, but only one in ten non-online shoppers intend to do the same.

“It is alarming for the Finnish national economy that more than 40 per cent of online shoppers are going to buy from foreign shops,” Kurjenoja says.

Search engines busy with Christmas searches

Christmas shopping has traditionally picked up the pace at the beginning of December, when Finns get their tax refunds and celebrate Independence Day. The beginning of the season also shows in online searches related to Christmas. According to Google’s search statistics from last year, online searches for Christmas presents multiplied in just a few days right before the tax refunds and plummeted on the very same day that they were paid out.*

Online searches related to Christmas presents are conducted most actively right now, during weeks 49 and 50. After this, fewer and fewer searches will be conducted, even though the actual shopping activity will increase. On the other hand, people most commonly plan their Christmas menus during week 50, when searches for Christmas recipes reach their peak. Therefore, the timely provision of seasonal information to consumers is vital for the success of the Christmas season.

*This information is based on Google’s internal data.

The consumer survey was carried out by TNS Gallup for the Finnish Commerce Federation. Conducted in November through telephone interviews, the survey reached a total of 1,502 Finns aged 15 or older.

Further information:

Jaana Kurjenoja, Chief Economist of the Finnish Commerce Federation, jaana.kurjenoja(at)kauppa.fi, tel. +358 (0)9 1728 5134

The Finnish Commerce Federation represents commerce, the largest sector of economic life. Commerce employs around 300,000 persons in Finland. The Federation has around 7,000 member companies and represents both retail and wholesale commerce in industry politics and labour market lobbying. www.kauppa.fi