Festive season spend to be down


Consumer spending for Christmas is likely to be down slightly on last year but Irish adults will still spend over €500 before the tree is taken down, according to a new survey.

The research, published this morning by the Irish League of Credit Unions, predicts Irish adults will spend an average of €527 on Christmas this year compared with €562 in 2011.

It says eight in 10 Irish adults feel worse about their financial situation this year but despite the gloom 58 per cent insisted Christmas would still be enjoyable.

Pollsters also gauged the impact the recession has been having in the North Pole and revealed that Santa Claus is likely to spend an average of €170 on presents for Irish children.

Some 56 per cent of consumers will experience a shortfall in spending. Just over three-quarters said they thought Irish people spent too much at Christmas, while 70 per cent said it would take over a month to recover from overspending at Christmas.

Biggest spenders

People living in Leinster are likely to be the biggest spenders, with the average spend in the east being put at €545. Christmas in Ulster will cost €520 while in Munster the cost will be a slightly more manageable €517. The consumers of Connacht, meanwhile, will get through €488 before the Christmas lights are switched off.

While spending is unlikely to fall greatly, there is still worrying news for many retailers who are pinning their hopes on a Christmas getting them through a lean new year. Some 45 per cent of respondents expressed the opinion that the cost of goods on the Republic’s main street are still too high.

Fears over high prices have seen growing numbers going online in search of better-value presents. Some 61 per cent of consumers will search the web for presents this year.

Mandy Johnston of the credit union league said people needed to remember “that Christmas really is about giving . . . not robbing the family finances”. She warned people to avoid “moneylenders and consider that if you cannot afford to pay for something without a loan, you cannot afford it”.