Christmas Spending Lowest Since 2008

Spain’s economic crisis continues to affect the average amount each consumer spends at Christmas, this year calculated to be 514 euros, which is 46 euros less than last year and 300 euros less than in 2008, before the start of the crisis.

Of the 514 euros that each consumer will spend in the coming holiday season (8% less than in 2011), 191 euros will be allocated to food, 163 euros to gifts and toys, 82 euros to lottery and 78 euros to leisure. According to the calculations carried out by the Federation of Independent Users and Consumers (FUCI), these figures confirm the downward trend which began in 2008, and since when the average consumer spending has reduced by 300 euros, or 49%.

The study was conducted by FUCI through surveys in order to find out the spending habits of the Spanish and how much money they devote to gifts, toys, lottery, food and entertainment during the holiday season. According to FUCI president, Gustavo Samayoa, this report “shows that the money the Spanish will spend over the holidays is the lowest since 2008, the year in which the effects of the crisis we are immersed in today began to be noticed”.

There are important differences from region to region, despite the fact that the crisis has affected them all. Madrid and Valencia are in the lead for spending, with about 600 euros per person, while the Canary Islands and Extremadura are at the other end with an expenditure of close to 450 euros. The report also notes that, despite the increased spending cuts recorded in all regions, the decline is more pronounced in the Canary Islands and Andalusia, possibly due to the high unemployment rates in those regions.

However, throughout the country the amount allocated for food (191 euros) is 2% higher than for 2011 (187 euros), something which, according FUCI is due to rising food prices since the study reflects a decrease in the number of products that consumers are considering purchasing. There are some differences between regions and thus Catalonia is the region where more money is likely to be spent on food, while consumers in Extremadura and the Canary Islands will spend less.

Diario Sur reported that toys and gifts, with an average of 163 euros per consumer, is the second highest item of expenditure despite dropping by 22 euros compared to last year, or 12%. By region, Madrid consumers will allocate 190 euros to the purchase of gifts and toys compared to the 135 euros allocated by consumers from the Canary Islands.

According to the study, leisure spending will fall 11% compared to last Christmas and will stand at 78 euros per person. In the last five years spending on leisure has fallen by 131 euros. Madrid consumers will spend most money on meals out, parties and trips (199 euros), while consumers from the Canaries will spend an average of 50 euros per person.

The section to suffer a greater decline over the previous year is in the purchase of lottery tickets, with a drop of 18%.

Faced with this situation, FUCI recommends planning purchases according to the budget and buying only what is necessary. They also urge consumers to buy their gifts in advance in order to take advantage of offers and, in the case of online purchases, advise consumers to stick to recognised sites, make rational use of credit cards, pay attention to the expiration date of products, choose safe toys and always keep receipts in case you need to make any returns.