While most Europeans will be cutting costs this Christmas, retail studies have shown the Swiss will be spending more than last year.
Swiss consumers are set to spend around 1.2 per cent more than last year on gifts, food and going out at Christmas.
The biggest spenders, however, are the Luxembourgers, who will fork out 2.4 per cent more than last year. According to a French study by accountancy firm Deloitte, their budget on end of year celebrations is €1,200 (SFr1,605) per person.
In a parallel study, Ernst & Young show the Swiss budget for presents only is now SFr301 ($310) per head, 13 per cent more than last year (SFr267).
Most European countries are expected to cut costs where Christmas is concerned. The Deloitte study showed the French would reduce their spending by about 4.4 per cent, while the worst hit by recession, the Greeks, will reduce expenses by 21 per cent, with a budget of just €420 a head for end of year expenditures.
According to Ernst & Young, this year the most popular presents are expected to be vouchers and money, followed by books, clothes and food or chocolate.
Every year Swiss high end retail chain Globus has a Christmas theme based on a town or country.
This year the shop is offering its buyers an American Christmas.
“It is an interesting and trendy country which offers all sorts of items and traditions,” Globus spokesman Jürg Welti told swissinfo.ch.
Themed products on sale range from New York-inspired decorations to traditional countryside design.
Food-wise, a festive menu has been composed by Daniel Humm, a Swiss chef in New York, who was given four stars in the New York Times.
Welti says the retail chain is doing well and is optimistic for the season to come.
He says it is impossible to tell what will be a big hit this Christmas, but from year to year some things never change.
“Gold, red and silver decorations, little accessories, which make good gifts for friends, champagne and salmon: This year will be no exception.”
Wind of change
While people still prefer buying in shops and supermarkets, internet Christmas shopping is becoming more and more popular.
The Deloitte study covering France and the whole of Europe shows the main reason for that is that people want to avoid crowds.
Martin Gröli from Ernst and Young thinks it is also linked to an increasing belief that it is safe to buy goods online.
“We have been doing this study for a few years. The increase in online buying is huge. It has gone up around 50 per cent since last year,” Gröli told swissinfo.ch
Customers are not the only ones to be more and more inclined to purchase on the internet.
“Firms in the consumer products industry open online options, because they believe it is a growing market,” Gröli said.
For the retailer, having an online shop is like having an additional store. Total online turnover corresponds more or less to one shop more at the moment.
“But I am convinced it will increase further,” added Gröli.
Men spend more
Ernst & Young found that men were going to spend more and differently from women, who spend more on books as presents than men do.
Last year’s figures showed that men were bigger spenders than women. But this year the gap is even bigger.
Whereas women are planning on shelling out SFr285, men will spend SFr319 each.
Gröli, who admits he was amazed by this result, has his own theory to explain this trend.
“It might be that men have a bad conscience, because they caused the financial crisis. After all, the ones who caused it were the Lehman brothers and not Lehman sisters,” he joked.
Favourite gifts (Deloitte)
Czech Republic: Clothing
South Africa: Money
THE WORLD'S MOST EXPENSIVE RETAIL STREETS
1. 5th Avenue, New York
2. Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
3. Champs Elysées, Paris
4. Montenapoleone, Milan
5. Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich
6. New Bond St, London
7. Ginza, Tokyo
Source: Location Services Research 2010