Public to ignore recession with festive spending...
IRISH shoppers will spend twice as much as their European counterparts on presents, food and socialising this Christmas despite the recession.
Households will fork out an average of €1,110 during the festive season – almost double the €600 that will be spent in Europe.
This is despite shoppers saying they will spend 30% less on gifts, 6% less on food and 22% less on socialising this Christmas, according to figures compiled by accountancy firm Deloitte.
Irish people plan to spend three times more on socialising than those in Germany and Italy this Christmas. An average of €180 per household will be spent at pubs and restaurants, which is the highest spend in Europe.
In an attempt to lure shoppers, retailers said they plan to begin their sales earlier than ever this year, according to chief executive of Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) David Fitzsimons.
"You’ll find a lot of nervous retailers out there who are keen to convert stock into cash. The Irish are a big nation for occasions, so it’s not surprising that they spend so much at Christmas.
"Expect to see a big drop in the sale of gift vouchers this Christmas as people will be keen not to give gifts that have a monetary value," he added.
The most recent figures show how far consumers have cut back. The average spend per transaction fell to €45 in the last quarter compared with €63 in the same period last year, according to REI.
Irish consumers have traditionally been the biggest Christmas spenders in Europe but they have fallen to second place this year behind Luxembourg, where households will spend an average of €1,150.
Three out of four respondents to the survey said they have less to spend this year and two-thirds intend to buy gifts that are on sale.
Consumer business partner with Deloitte Susan Birrell said the Irish consumer is now more rational.
"The focus is on practical, useful gifts. Customers will look for promotions and attractive prices. The retailers that don’t offer these to consumers will be the losers this festive season."
The survey, which questioned 500 people last month, found:
n42% of adults would like to receive cash as a present.
* One in five will give a cash present.
* One in five also said they will be cutting back on gifts for work colleagues.
* One in six will not buy a present for somebody’s else child.
* A third of shoppers said they will buy gifts on the internet to avoid crowds.
Also nine out of 10 people believe the Government has not reacted properly to the financial crisis, which is the highest dissatisfaction rating in Europe.
Just 40% of Irish people believe their employment to be secure, which makes Ireland the most pessimistic country in western Europe.
Report by Niamh Hennessy - Irish Examiner.
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