An expensive Christmas for many Brits

Posted by Rebecca Stains in Personal Finance on 10 December 2014 - Rebecca worked as a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile until 2015

Britain will spend more on Christmas presents than any other nation in Europe, a survey has revealed. Due to the spending the result is that they are also more likely to get themselves in debt.

An ING study of nearly 12,000 people found that on average British people plan on spending £350 on Christmas gifts. This figure is £110 higher than those in the next nearest countries, France and Luxembourg.

However, this generosity does come at a price. The study found that in 2013, more people in Britain found themselves in debt after Christmas than anywhere else in Europe by spending 17% of their monthly wages on presents. The only other country to suffer greater festive debt was Romania, who have a lower average wage. Christmas shoppers here in the UK are expected to spend up to £74bn in these weeks leading up to Christmas Day.

Ian Bright of ING Group says, “As well as taking into account the economic backdrop of each nation, we all celebrate Christmas a little differently and this is reflected in how Europeans approach their spending over the period”.

Despite Britons being more likely to get in debt than most others, almost half have saved money for Christmas, compared to 36% on average across Europe. Younger Europeans are more likely to save, with 48% of those aged 18-24 and 45% aged 25-34 saving money for Christmas.

While some have planned ahead, the study also reveals that a significant proportion of people do not know how much they will end up spending this Christmas and nearly a third say they don't worry about their expenditure this time of year, regardless of their financial situation.

Ian Bright adds, “The fact that almost half of people don't know what they will spend is a significant point. However, perhaps learning from debts of previous years, it's encouraging to see this year a significant proportion of consumers have put money aside to ensure they can celebrate the festive period without having to worry as much about finances”.

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