• December 1, 2022

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As new UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attempts to pick up the pieces from outgoing PM Liz Truss’s budget chaos which announced tax rises and major public spending cuts, the scene is set for yet another unusual Christmas buying period in the UK.

2020 was the Christmas of Isolation as families remained apart from loved ones and the UK plunged into another lockdown.

2021 was the Christmas of Confusion. Despite people making big plans to undo the sorrow of the year before and travel generally making a comeback, the Omicron variant saw many cut back on their plans.

Households vowed on New Years Eve 2021 that 2022 would be different. It has been, but it has not proved to be the year that we expected.

February of this year marked the major escalation of the Russia’s continuing war on the Ukraine ; the International Monetary Fund foresaw a ‘gloomy’ economic situation by July. As we edge towards November, millions of households are considering how to pay basic bills after fuel, food, rent and mortgages have seen record increases and the value of savings and pensions have plummeted.

Retailers were hoping for a celebratory mood in consumers wanting to spend, spend, spend after years of constant challenge. The reality is the indication that consumers will cutting back significantly on Christmas spend, simply to be able to survive what many cite as the most challenging year yet.


Research from YouGov indicates 60% of shoppers will spend less than usual on Christmas this year, which compares starkly to the mere 2% who stated they will spend more.

Less than a third (28%) are predicting that they will enjoy a ‘normal’ Christmas, rising to 36% amongst the over 65’s.

The numbers also make for stark reading when considering the country’s deepening isolation crisis. One third of adults say they’ll cut back on family gatherings, trips to theatres and Christmas markets (33%). 21% will step back from travel plans to family and friends.

It isn’t just the social aspect of Christmas that may be different this year. A third of Britons (33%) say they will reduce food expenditure, and half (51%) of Britons are planning to cut the amount they spend on gifts.

Sadly even gifting for children looks to be also an area that will be impacted as 55% of parents with children under 10 confirm that they will have to spend less on presents.

The impact of reduced spend could be felt by charities too as the survey predicts that more than a fifth of adults (22%) will limit the amount they donate to charities as they continue to battle the rising cost of living.

2022 may prove to be the Christmas of Desperate Times for many and the focus will be fixed on 10 Downing Street and the new UK Prime Minister’s next moves. Can a Christmas miracle be delivered reassuring households that this year might not be as bleak as feared? And what will be the reality of Christmas Future? Will December 2023 see the nation enjoying a festive holiday just like the ones they used to know?


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