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Brits shun shopping sprees to the tune of £1.5bn this Christmas

Over a quarter of Brits plan to spend about £100 less on Christmas presents this year. Photo: freestocks.org/Unsplash

It could be a bleak Christmas for the UK high streets, with consumers planning to spend a huge £1.5bn less on presents this year, according to a survey.

About 27% of Brits said they were planning to spend about £105.90 less than they did last year – over £1.5bn in total, found the survey of more than 2,000 people by Gumtree,

Money is the biggest reason shoppers are reining in their shopping spree, with 47% not being able to splurge the way they did last year. However, sustainability is also a priority for a fifth of Brits, while slightly less – 18% – said they don’t want to “contribute to mindless consumerism”.

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The survey also found more than a quarter (26%) of people celebrating Christmas are planning to seek out second-hand gifts this year, prompted by the desire to save money (35%), reduce waste (32%), be more environmentally-friendly (25%) and generally be more sustainable (22%).

Friends (26%), young children (21%) and partners (20%) are the most likely recipients of pre-loved presents.

Second-hand shopping is not the only way in which festive buying behaviours are changing. While a third of shoppers confessed they’re guilty of being not as green at Christmas versus other times of the year, the vast majority – an overwhelming four in five – are actively taking steps to be more sustainable this season.

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Common ways include reusing last year’s tree (35%), buying from local businesses (19%), only using sustainable wrapping paper (17%), not buying plastic stocking fillers (12%) and buying gift experiences or vouchers rather than things (11%).

Plus, in their bid to act better for the sake of the environment, almost one in 10 (9%) are choosing to eat vegetarian or vegan feasts this Christmas – and the same amount again are refusing to fly or drive to visit friends or relatives.

The top five ways Brits are being more sustainable this Christmas

  1. Reusing last year’s tree (35%)

  2. Not buying any new decorations (33%)

  3. Re-using old wrapping paper and decorations (25%)

  4. Not buying crackers containing plastic or glitter (22%)

  5. Buying local (19%)

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Fergus Campbell at Gumtree said: “It’s great to see that second-hand is back on the Christmas list, as it’s simple, affordable and often local too, meaning it’s better for the community, the planet and the wallet.

“Gumtree has spent almost 20 years enabling people to freely and easily trade with their neighbours, and our mission now is more important than ever. We want people to think twice about buying new – or before throwing away perfectly good things.

“Simple steps like reusing decorations, cutting back on crackers with plastic or glitter in them and buying second-hand will collectively make a difference this Christmas.”