ILCU LAUNCH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS CAMPAIGN AND RESEARCH

Media Release: 11 December 2013

60% believe there is nothing nicer than a proper Irish Christmas

 

Irish consumers will spend an average of €590 over Christmas 2013 compared to €527 in 2012

 

Irish parents plan on spending an average of €185 on Santa presents per child, increase from €170 in 2012

 

65% plan to shop online for presents representing an increase from 61% in 2012

 

Men expect to spend more on Christmas than women this year

 

50% of Irish consumers expect to borrow money to get through the

Christmas period - borrowing on average €410 per person

 

Those in the 18-34 age bracket are the most likely to use a moneylender with 12% doing so in 2013

 

Increase in those taking 9+ months to recover from overspending at Christmas

 

Male consumers are more likely to recover faster financially than their female counterparts

 

People in Ulster spending most on Christmas, followed by Leinster (excluding Dublin), Dublin, Connaught and Munster

 

 

(Thursday 12th December) As the big day looms, many families are deep in preparations for the Christmas holidays and though it is a time of joy, it puts a lot of pressure on hard pressed parents trying to give their families a holiday to remember.

 

Knowing your limits in terms of your finances and avoiding unnecessary debt this Christmas is hugely important says the ILCU, who today launched their annual Christmas campaign. The campaign strongly urges the public to avoid borrowing beyond their means to avoid a sack full of debt in the New Year and to particularly avoid using moneylenders. The call comes after many credit unions around the country have reported an increase in moneylender activity in their local communities.

 

Christmas Research

 

Christmas Spending and Sources of Finance

 

Three quarters (75%) of the population feel worse about their financial situation in the run up to Christmas 2013 compared to Christmas 2012 (81%). Three quarters also believe that the recent Budget and the current economic climate will impact on their spending. (33%) fear that their money worries will spoil Christmas this year.

 

Irish consumers will spend an average of €590 over Christmas 2013 compared to €527 in 2012. Middle age adults are likely to spend more than other age groups and surprisingly males expect to spend more than their female counterparts for Christmas 2013.

 

In terms of provincial spend - those in Ulster come out on top spending on average €630 euro, followed by Leinster (excluding Dublin) at €605, Dublin €595, Connaught €590 and Munster €570.

 

 

Xmas Spend

<€300

€301-€500

€501-€700

€701-€1,000

€1,001-€1,250

€1,251-€1,500

€1,501+

AVG:

2011

26%

27%

18%

18%

6%

2%

3%

€562

2012

28%

32%

17%

13%

4%

3%

3%

€527

2013

22%

28%

20%

17%

5%

4%

4%

€590

 

Split for 2013

18 – 34

35-54

55+

Male

Female

Dublin

RoL

Munster

Connacht

Ulster

AVG. Spend ‘12:

€455

€575

€512

€513

€537

€533

€545

€517

€488

€520

AVG. Spend ‘13:

€511

€625

€610

€600

€585

€595

€605

€570

€590

€630

 

 

Buying Christmas Presents for Children

 

Irish parents plan on spending an average of €185 on Santa presents per child. This represents a slight increase when compared to 2012 figure of €170.

 

Spending Money on Toys for Each Child

2013

2012

2011

€0 - €50

8%

11%

15%

€51 - €100

22%

25%

25%

€101 - €150

20%

18%

16%

€151 - €200

15%

16%

18%

€201 - €250

12%

9%

9%

€251 - €300

8%

9%

6%

€301 - €350

3%

2%

2%

€351 - €400

3%

2%

4%

€401 - €450

3%

2%

2%

€451 - €500

1%

2%

2%

€501+

5%

4%

2%

AVERAGE:

€185

€170

€164

 

(70%) of consumers have started their Christmas shopping. Female consumers appear to be more organised than males (80%) vs (57%); the remaining (30) plan to start their Christmas shopping this month. More males than females begin their Christmas shopping in December.

 

With money being tight generally across the population, there is a strong belief (76%) that Irish people spend too much at Christmas. Christmas is a stressful time for almost half of the Irish population (42%). (40%) of respondents said they will miss family members that have emigrated and won’t be home for Christmas. (60%) believe there is nothing nicer than a proper Irish Christmas.

 

Consumer Attitudes towards Christmas Spend

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

N/A

Irish people spend too much on Christmas

76% | 76%

18% | 18%

6% | 6%

0% | n/a

I enjoy giving presents more than receiving presents

66% | 65%

24% | 24%

10% | 11%

0% | n/a

I find Christmas a stressful time of year

42% | 45%

25% | 21%

33% | 34%

0% | n/a

I leave my Christmas shopping to the last minute

29% | 28%

19% | 23%

51% | 49%

1% | n/a

I would prefer not to receive any presents at Christmas

20% | 20%

23% | 26%

57% | 54%

0% | n/a

I will really miss members of my family that have emigrated and won’t be home for Christmas

40% | n/a

21% | n/a

15% | n/a

24% | n/a

There is nothing nicer than a proper Irish Christmas

60% | n/a

27% | n/a

10% | n/a

3% | n/a

 

Spending time with family is the most important element of celebrating Christmas in Ireland (44%). The preparation for Christmas (19%) and watching kids opening their presents (12%) are the second and third most popular elements.

 

 

Shopping Online

(65%) plan to shop online for presents. This represents an increase from (61%) in 2012. Females (68%) and young adults (74%) are most likely to shop online for Christmas presents this year. Better value continues to be the primary reason behind almost (41%) of these purchases followed by convenience (30%). Amazon is likely to be the most popular online destination for shopping for Christmas presents in 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013

2012

Males

61%

57%

Females

68%

64%

18-34s

74%

71%

35-54s

65%

61%

55+

54%

47%

 

Reasons for Shopping Online for Christmas Presents

2013

2012

2011

It is better value

41%

47%

47%

It is more convenient

30%

26%

29%

There is more choice

18%

17%

14%

I dislike visiting shops

4%

4%

3%

Other reasons (All of the above)

7%

6%

7%

 

The majority of shoppers tend to browse for products online before going to the physical shop to make a purchase with more females (86%) than males (82%) doing this.

 

(72%) of all shoppers feel secure when paying for goods and services online. However, (23%) sometimes get worried that their details will be stolen. Those in the younger age categories and males feel most secure when shopping online.

 

Perceived Security of Online Shopping

2013

Males

Females

18-34

35-54

55+

Very secure

20%

22%

19%

29%

18%

12%

Pretty secure

52%

55%

50%

48%

53%

56%

Sometimes I get worried my details will be stolen

23%

18%

26%

17%

25%

26%

I don’t feel secure

5%

5%

5%

6%

4%

6%

 

 

Debt

 

(50%) of Irish consumers expect to borrow money to get though the Christmas period, borrowing on average €410. Middle aged adults (35 – 54) are most likely age group to borrow and will borrow the most amount of money - €480.  More males than females are getting into debt (53% males v 48% females)

 

 

 

33% fear that money worries will make Christmas 2013 less enjoyable, this represents a drop from the 2012 figure of 37%. 59% believe that Christmas will be enjoyable regardless of money worries.

 

Moneylenders

(8%) have approached a moneylender to borrow money to pay for Christmas costs, a further (6%) would consider approaching a moneylender. Young adults in the 18-34 age bracket are the most likely to use a moneylender with (12%) having borrowed already and a further (11%) considering borrowing from a moneylender.

 

Recovering from Overspending

7 in 10 consumers will take a month or more to financially recover from the costs of Christmas. Male consumers (7 weeks) are more likely to recover faster than their female counterparts (11 weeks) on average.

 

There has been an increase in those taking 9+ months to recover from overspending at Christmas – (6%) in 2013 compared to (4%) in 2012. (7%) of females compared to (4%) of males are taking 9+ months to financially recover.

 

Recovery Time

2013

Males

Females

2012

2011

None

31%

39%

26%

29%

26%

1 month

24%

22%

25%

27%

28%

2 months

15%

14%

16%

19%

34%

3 months

11%

10%

12%

11%

4 months

4%

6%

3%

4%

8%

5 months

2%

2%

3%

2%

6 months

5%

3%

6%

4%

7 months

1%

0%

1%

0%

4%

8 months

1%

0%

1%

0%

9+ months

6%

4%

7%

4%

Average

2.3 months             (9 weeks)

1.8 months (7 weeks)

2.7 months (11 weeks)

2 months              (8 weeks)

1.8 months                 (7 weeks)

 

 

Christmas Shopping

Over a third (36%) do their Christmas shopping outside of the Republic of Ireland, this figure has increased from (29%) in 2012. Northern Ireland (14%) and the UK (11%) are the most popular destinations, with females more inclined to shop abroad than males. Females favour shopping in the UK and males in Northern Ireland.

 

Christmas Shopping Outside ROI

2013

Males

Females

2012

Northern Ireland

14%

15%

13%

11%

United Kingdom

11%

7%

14%

9%

Europe

6%

6%

6%

5%

USA

5%

7%

5%

4%

None – only shop in ROI

64%

66%

62%

71%

 

Shopping for Christmas Food

The majority of Christmas food shopping will take place in Tesco (31%), a drop from 36% in 2012. Dunnes Stores are likely to attract (21%) of Christmas food purchases, a drop from (27%) in 2012. Aldi and Lidl have seen an increase in popularity attracting a combined 26% of Christmas food purchases compared to (20%) in 2012.

 

Preferred Stores for Christmas Food Shopping

2013

Males

Females

2012

Tesco

31%

30%

32%

36%

Dunnes Stores

21%

23%

19%

27%

Aldi

16%

16%

16%

13%

Lidl

10%

9%

11%

7%

Supervalu

10%

10%

10%

n/a

Superquinn

3%

2%

4%

n/a

Mark & Spencer

2%

3%

1%

2%

Local Shop

1%

2%

0%

n/a

Local artisan deli / market

1%

1%

1%

1%

Centra

1%

0%

1%

n/a

Other

4%

4%

5%

11%

 

Value on the High Street

Consumers continue to show negative sentiment towards value of goods and services in shops in Ireland. (38%) feel that there isn’t good value. A further (49%) feel that they really need to shop around to find good value. Only 1 in 5 believe that there is good value in restaurants, hotels and pubs. A further 3 in 10 feel there is good value but the additional costs such as a babysitter and getting home after a night out is still very expensive.

 

Perceived Value of High Street Retailers

2013

Males

Females

2012

2011

There is good value on the high street

13%

14%

12%

12%

Yes: 62%

There is good value but only if you really shop around

49%

44%

53%

43%

There isn’t good value on the high street

38%

42%

35%

45%

No: 38%

 

Speaking about the research, Kieron Brennan, ILCU, CEO said: ”Our annual Christmas research again shows us that while people really enjoy the build up and the time spent with family, many are over spending and in many cases getting themselves into debt unnecessarily. The independent research shows us that worryingly more people are taking longer to recover - 6% in 2013 compared to 4% in 2012 taking 9 months or more.

 

We are also saying very strongly that people should avoid using moneylenders. Availing of this type of credit will most certainly put many people in further debt at a time when they can least afford expensive credit. The ILCU has called and continues to call on Government to act and introduce a statutory interest rate cap for licensed moneylenders in an effort to regulate the sector. No such cap currently exists but, in practice, the ceiling is just below 190% APR. With the level of personal indebtedness and financial exclusion in Ireland, there is a real danger of compounding the problem by allowing legal moneylenders charge excessive rates.”

He concluded: “Setting a Christmas spending budget is more important now than ever, as is writing a list. Plan how much you can afford to spend - and stick to it. This will allow people to be in a better position to keep a tight rein on Christmas shopping costs. Consider that if you cannot afford to pay for something without a loan, you simply cannot afford it. It's easy to say but it's still true - the best gift at Christmas is being together - and that costs nothing. If you are worried about your finances or want some advice on how to put together a budget, visit your local credit union”

About the Research

This independent survey was conducted by Market Research Company iReach during the period November 2013 using the iReach Consumer Decision Research Panel which delivered 1,000 responses from adults in Ireland aged 18+ and is nationally representative by Age, Region, Gender and Social Class. This research has a confidence level of 95% and a confidence interval of 4%.

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