In the lead up to the festive season, we asked a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Opinions.ie panel members across Ireland about their Christmas shopping habits.

Picture the scene, it’s Christmas Eve. Are you at home, fire lit, relaxing with the smug satisfaction that you finished all your Christmas shopping before December like 32% of our panel? Are you relatively organised having picked up bits and pieces over December like half of the people interviewed? Or are you rushing around like 9% of our panel who have left everything to the last minute?  

With Christmas set to be a bumper year for consumer spending, our research found that over a quarter plan to spend between €100 and €300 on presents this year, 30% expect to spend between €300 and €500 on Christmas presents this year, and no surprise that households with children are almost three times more likely (13%) to spend over €1,000 on presents versus households without children (5%).

Although 28% plan to spend less this Christmas compared to last year, consumer sentiment is positive with the majority (59%) of shoppers planning to spend the same as last yearand a further 13% plan to spend more. Most will finance their Christmas shopping through a mixture of channels; salary/income will be used by 80%, 41% will finance shopping through their savings, 17% through credit card, and 5% will get a loan from Credit Union, Bank or from Friends/Family. When it comes to presents, 20% plan to buy themselves a present (this increases to 25% among those aged 18-34), and when asked if they prefer receiving or giving presents; 8% admit to preferring receiving presents, 31% prefer giving presents and the majority (61%) like both equally.

So what channels are our panel using to buy their Christmas presents? We’ve heard a lot this year about the ‘death of the high street’. A number of big name retailers have run into trouble in the last year including House of Fraser and Coast. Online shopping is often pinned as the cause for the high street decline, but there are a number of factors that have influenced this including inflation, increasing overheads and changing consumer demands. Online shopping continues to grow, and many retailers run the risk of being left behind if they don’t adapt to these new needs. We found that 79% planned to shop online for Christmas presents, so it’s never been more important for retailers to adapt to offer smoother, quicker and seamless transactions. It’s imperative that e-commerce sites are easily accessible and the customer journey has as few steps as possible. Having a transaction friendly, device agnostic website is now critical for success.

The main drivers that encourage shoppers to go online is convenience, with three quarters stating they shop online because they can do so at a time that is suitable for them (78%). There is also a perception that online shopping helps with budgeting with 68% stating that shopping online saves them money. Consumers also rate online shopping as great for comparing prices and offers online (61%).

Despite the grumbles of Christmas being too commercial and materialistic, it’s positive to see that when asked what their favourite thing is about Christmas, family reigns supreme. 45% stated that time with their family is what they enjoy most about Christmas. The break from work/time out is favoured by 30% and 8% love their Christmas Dinner the most!  

Results taken from a recent online survey conducted by Opinions Market Research among a sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ in Ireland with quota controls set on age, gender, region and income to reflect the population. The survey took place in December. Opinions.ie are a boutique market research agency based in Donnybrook, D4 with their own online panel of 10,000 consumers across Ireland.