Consumers ready to spend more at Christmas

Christmas shopping at Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse Keystone

Most Swiss plan to increase the amount of money spent on Christmas shopping, according to Deloitte. A poll conducted by the consulting firm showed though that with high prices, often the norm in Switzerland, consumers are looking for better deals abroad.

This content was published on December 3, 2012 - 13:21

Consumers intend to spend SFr996 ($1,076) this season compared with SFr955 laid out last year, the Swiss Christmas Retail Survey 2012 showed. “This uplift in the Christmas budget is mainly due to a planned increase in spending on gifts,” Deloitte wrote.

Only a third of consumers in Switzerland consider that they have lower spending power, while in Europe, as many as 41 per cent feel they have less money to expend than last year.

Switzerland has traditionally been a country with higher prices than its eurozone neighbours. Pressured by European online retailers and the continued strength of the Swiss franc, retailers dropped their prices in September compared with last year.

As a result fewer customers want to do Christmas shopping in euros, the consultants explained.

But for Swiss consumers lower prices remain a top priority. Nearly half of the customers buying outside of Switzerland are planning to spend more than a quarter of their Christmas budget with foreign retailers.

The Swiss still favour traditional presents, the consulting company found. About 40 per cent of people surveyed said they plan to buy books for friends and family, followed by chocolates with 28 per cent and cosmetics and perfumes with 24 per cent.

While most struggle selecting presents for teenagers, it is considered much easier for children. The most popular gifts are educational toys including books, games, puzzles as well as learning and experimenting toys.

About two thirds of purchases are digitally influenced by search engines, online shops company websites and newsletters. Up to 47 per cent of customers plan to order online products like books, video games, music and movies that get delivered free of charge.

Still, when it comes to actually buying food, beauty products, fashion and toys, traditional stores are still the preferred channel, Deloitte said. Times are, however, set to change. A quarter already use mobile phones for purchases and 39 per cent plan to do so in the future.

In strong contrast with last year’s results, where money did not even feature in the top ten type of gifts, as many as a fifth of people surveyed this year said they plan to leave cash under the Christmas tree.

Deloitte polled opinions from 18,587 participants, including 762 Swiss consumers, in 18 European countries and South Africa.

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