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Published
Sep 17, 2021
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'Tale of two Christmases' as consumer incomes boom or bust says eBay

Published
Sep 17, 2021

UK retailers can expect a “tale of two Christmases” this year. According to eBay UK, personal finances will play an even bigger part in consumer choices this festive season as the lasting effects of the pandemic will divide spending patterns into either caution or blow-out extravagance.


Photo: Public domain


Its survey, which polled 2,000 Britons who celebrate Christmas, found 26% of respondents have less disposable income compared to pre-pandemic, compared to 19% who claim to have more. Over half of Britons (55%) report having the same amount of disposable income as pre-pandemic.

As a precaution, eBay Ads UK is advising brands to take a “mindful approach" to targeting shoppers and consider the wide-ranging impact of the pandemic “on consumers’ experiences and mindsets”.

Unsurprisingly, those consumers that report having more disposable income plan to spend more on Christmas and have bigger celebrations. Some 24% reveal they plan to put their extra savings towards Christmas presents. Meanwhile, half say they plan to spend more on Christmas gifts and celebrations this year compared to last year (when Christmas was virtually cancelled at the last moment due to Covid). 

Some 24% also expect Christmas to be a bigger celebration this year, again not surprising considering lockdowns and restrictions limited or ended plans for wider family gatherings last year.

The research also suggests that brands should expect an uptick in interest in big ticket items, with 19% of those with more disposable income planning to treat loved ones to extravagant gifts.

This is in stark contrast to those consumers who report having less disposable income now and who are set to have a more “considered” Christmas. Some 40% say they would prefer a smaller, quieter Christmas and this group of shoppers is more likely to be thoughtful about gifting "as they look to do more with less”.

Two thirds (67%) of those with less disposable income say their biggest priority this Christmas will be sourcing gifts that are good value – compared to 49% of those with more disposable income. Meanwhile, 58% of respondents with less disposable income also ranked spending time with loved ones as one of their top priorities this Christmas.

Harmony Murphy, GM Advertising UK at eBay, said: “With 100 days to go until Christmas, brands have an enormous opportunity to engage with excited consumers – however, it’s vital that they take into consideration the vastly different experiences people have lived over the course of the pandemic.

"Brands need to be mindful of consumers’ varying priorities and mindsets, and carefully tailor messaging and targeting accordingly. This is crucial to demonstrating you really care for your customers this Christmas time.”

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