You don’t have to be religious to be able to enjoy Christmas and the warm and sharing disposition that people spontaneously slip into when the holidays come around.
You’ll be surprised by how much people are prepared to spend on presents, decorations, and everything else. We will mostly discuss Christmas spending statistics in the US and Europe. Still, we have included some global statistics as well.
So buckle up, and join us on our Christmas statistics sleigh ride.
Top 10 Christmas Spending Statistics in 2020
- Holiday shopping and parties combined last a total of 42 hours for an average American.
- US online holiday spending in 2019 was expected to exceed $135 billion.
- In 2019, 32.4% of all UK Christmas sales were made online.
- Cyber 5 period accounted for $28.5 billion of US holiday season revenue in 2019.
- The average consumer spending on Christmas 2019 in America was around $880.
- For 30% of people in Latin America, Christmas dinner was the shopping priority.
- In 2019, 42% of Americans were enticed by discounts to overspend on Christmas.
- In the US, 60% of the average Christmas budget is spent on gifts for family members.
- The UK was the leading European spender during the holiday season of 2019.
- Around 40% of Europeans feel pressured to overspend on Christmas.
The Bottomless Bag of Worldwide Christmas Spending Statistics
People around the world celebrate Christmas, or at least take part in enjoying the festive spirit. There are as many Christmas customs and traditions as peoples in this world — let’s check the most interesting ones.
1. The UK was the leading Christmas spender in Europe in 2019.
Specifically, an average household in the UK spent 640 euros ($770) on Christmas celebrations in 2019. Spain followed with around $660 in Christmas spending, and Italy took third place with roughly $655.
Germany was fourth with about $585, which was the closest to the European average Christmas spending in 2019—$550.
2. Around 30% of people in Latin America prioritized Christmas dinner when shopping.
Most respondents were willing to set aside a large portion of their money spent on Christmas for a bountiful dinner. However, the percentage of those who thought that gifts were most important wasn’t negligible, amounting to 20%.
The most popular gift among the respondents were clothing and fashionable items, which accounted for 17% of the survey answers.
3. Christmas spending on groceries and supermarkets grew by 2.4% in 2019.
(Centre for Retail Research)
The highest industry growth was recorded by pharmacists, whose sales around Christmas grew by 4.9%. Electrical household goods sales also rose significantly, by 4% to be exact. Overall, businesses grew by 2.17%.
4. The average Christmas spending on non-food items declined by 0.6% in 2019.
(Centre for Retail Research)
If you think that these stats aren’t all that bad, let’s take a look at the industries that took the most massive hits in sales:
- Music and equipment sales dropped by 18.4%
- Hardware and paint sales fell 14.1%
- Household item sales decreased by 3.4%
- The clothing industry sales shrank 2.9%
5. In 2019, 32.4% of all UK Christmas sales were made online.
(Centre for Retail Research)
These stats about Christmas shopping are not only typical for the United Kingdom. There are several other countries where online Christmas shopping is increasingly popular:
- In the US, digital shopping accounted for 26.4% of all Christmas sales.
- In Germany, online shopping amounted to 26.1% of Christmas shopping.
- Lastly, in France, 20.3% of Christmas sales went through online channels.
That year, brick-and-mortar sales went down 2.3% in Germany and 1.5% in the UK. The pandemic’s social isolation will reinforce this trend, just like it already resulted in the number of full-time remote workers in the US skyrocketing from 17% of the total workforce to 44%.
North and South America Christmas Shopping Statistics
Americans like to go big or go home when it comes to holiday spending. Sounds like a Hollywood cliche, but that’s just what we do, and Christmas is no exception. We spend more, we buy more things, and our budgets keep getting bigger. Here are the numbers behind the American Christmas.
6. In 2019, Americans were expected to spend over $135 billion online during the holiday season.
(Statista, Multichannel Merchant)
The actual number turned out to be even higher, with online spending reaching $142.5 billion in November and December of 2019—and these were only e-commerce sales.
The sales hit the record on Cyber Monday of 2019. On that day alone, American Christmas shoppers spent over $9.4 billion on online holiday shopping.
7. The five days between November 28 and December 2, 2019, brought $28.5 billion in US holiday season revenue.
In the US, the five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday are popularly called the Cyber 5. Black Friday and Cyber Monday were possibly the most lucrative online shopping days every year in recent history.
8. West Virginia is the state that spends the least on Christmas, roughly about $60 per person.
(Chamber of Commerce)
According to the Chamber of Commerce, the following states have the lowest average cost of Christmas:
- Vermont citizens spend $111
- Montana residents have a budget of $328
- Louisiana citizens spend $342
- Residents of New Mexico spend $373
There’s a reason for the low numbers, and it’s not a lack of Christmas spirit. In terms of personal finance statistics, these states simply have the lowest household incomes, high poverty rates, and fragile economies.
9. About 60% of the average Christmas budget is spent on gifts for family members in the US.
Americans are expected to spend about $500 on gifts for their family this year. In comparison, they will spend $80 on gifts for their friends and $32 for coworkers.
These numbers are not surprising if you consider that 96% of Americans buy gifts for their family. In comparison, only 67% and 31% get them for their friends and coworkers, respectively.
Amid the raging loneliness pandemic because of the lockdowns, these numbers sure sound inspiring.
10. US citizens spend much less on food and decorations than they do on gifts.
Interestingly, about 20% of the total Christmas spending goes towards decorations, food, and greeting cards. The average amount spent on Christmas for these purposes is $230.
Americans also spend some of the holiday money on themselves. The exact amount is $117, which is a significant drop-off from last year’s $162. If you are also thinking about treating yourself this year, you might want to look into our breakdown of the best subscription boxes for men and pick one for yourself.
11. Holiday shopping and parties during the holidays last about 42 hours for an average American.
Note that wrapping and returning gifts and traveling to and from friends and family also goes into these 42 hours. The average time spent shopping during the holidays is 15 hours. Most shoppers expect to wait in lines for three and a half hours.
12. The average consumer spending on Christmas 2019 in America was $878.
(The Motley Fool)
This amount was divided between gifts, food, traveling, and decorations. However, these numbers are the average spend for those that had set a budget beforehand. Those who just bought everything without budgeting ended up spending more—$992.
13. A whopping 21.5% of Americans went into debt because of Christmas shopping in 2019.
(The Motley Fool)
Note that these numbers are based on 1,496 respondents of a survey carried out by the Ascent. Still, these gift-giving statistics are discouraging, especially since 30% of the indebted respondents didn’t know how to repay the debt. Another 30% said that they would pay it back with tax returns.
14. Almost 42% of Americans spent more than intended on Christmas 2019 because of attractive discounts or retail offers.
(The Motley Fool)
Marketing tactics and sales go a long way, especially during the holiday season. However, there were other reasons why people ended up spending more than they planned on Christmas 2019:
- About 18% of people received a Christmas bonus or got some extra money elsewhere.
- Around 14% of people wanted to support individual companies.
- 11.6% wanted to use limited credit card offers.
- Finally, 8.3% were confident that the American economy would stay stable.
General Christmas Spending Facts
You’ve almost reached the end of our article. Well done! Here is a couple of relaxing, fun information about Christmas, so we can end this reading session in a festive mood.
15. Christmas is celebrated differently in various parts of Latin America, and so are the holidays before Christmas.
For instance, Cuba, Spain, Guatemala, and Mexico all celebrate Las Posadas between the 16th and 24th of December each year. These 9 days are known as “novena.” It is devoted to prayers, accompanied by tree decorations, gifts, and feasts. These holidays are spent either with close or with extended family.
16. The Christmas shopping season in the USA starts on Black Friday, even though retailers are already promoting their sales in early November.
Christmas spending facts from Statista state that Americans spend the most money online for holiday shopping on Cyber Monday. Holiday e-commerce spending in the US amounted to almost $120 billion in 2018.
17. 93% of UK consumers don’t know how much they spend on Christmas presents.
One of the more surprising Christmas stats is that only 7% of the people surveyed by Ocean Finance remembered exactly how much they spent on presents. Some 62% were absolutely clueless about the figure, while those who at least had a rough estimate of how much they’ve spent were typically off by 17%.
This just shows that you should budget your Christmas spending in advance and keep track of it for future notice.
18. One of the not-so-jolly Christmas in the USA facts is that in 2019, Americans were expected to waste over $15 billion on unwanted presents.
Some 61% of Americans said they would receive at least one Christmas present they didn’t like. Clothing accounted for most of the unwanted gifts, at a whopping 43%. Household items followed at 20%, while cosmetics came in third at 12%.
19. Around 40% of Europeans feel pressured to overspend on Christmas.
(World Economic Forum)
Around 10% of Europeans borrow money or run up their credit card debt due to Christmas spending. This doesn’t seem to be related to their country’s economic prosperity or the average cost of Christmas gifts. About 20% of people go over the credit card limit during Christmas in Romania and the United Kingdom.
The COVID-19 outbreak resulted in 23% of those with credit card debt getting even more indebted. Hence, people have to be careful if they don’t want to start the new year with a financial burden.
20. The average Christmas spending per child in 2019 exceeded $200 for 20% of Americans.
The 2019 survey from Statista showed that 13% of parents planned on spending between $100 and $150 per child during Christmas. Only about 4% of the respondents said they weren’t getting gifts for their children, while 9% said they would only spend up to $25.
These average Christmas spending per child numbers indicate that one in five Americans will spend the same amount of money on a child as on food and decorations for the holidays.
How much does the average person spend for Christmas?
Investopedia states that, on average, Americans are spending $998 on Christmas. Those numbers are lower than in 2019 when an average American spent about $1,043 on holiday gifts. Total US Christmas spending is projected to reach a whopping $1 trillion.
(Investopedia, World Economic Forum)
Which state spends the most on Christmas?
The Chamber of Commerce estimates that the average US consumer is likely to spend $1,047 on Christmas this year, with Maryland residents spending twice the amount. This is the state with the highest Christmas spending in 2020 in the entire country—$2,241 per person, to be exact.
Utah is second at $2,195, followed by Hawaii with $1,887, New Jersey with $1,843, and Virginia with $1,596. Note that these states typically have high household incomes and significant state economies.
(Chamber of Commerce)
What percentage of Christmas shopping is done online?
According to the Centre for Retail Research, people did 26.4% of Christmas shopping online in the US in 2019. This shows an 11% increase in online spending than in 2018, while “offline” spending only grew by 2%.
(Centre for Retail Research)
How much money is spent on Christmas around the world?
Europeans’ average amount on Christmas shopping is about $550, or 460 euros, per household.
Australians spend a lot on Christmas, too. According to News.com.au, in 2019, Australia spent about 34.4 billion Australian dollars ($25 billion) on Christmas in 2018.
How much to spend on Christmas gifts per person?
According to the National Retail Federation yearly survey of Christmas spending, a typical American was ready to spend about $660 on gifts in 2019.
The average amount spent on Christmas gifts varies a lot. Still, generally, people in the Western hemisphere spend between $500 and $1,000 on gifts. Note that this is the total amount for gifts for all of their friends and family members.
No rules or boundaries are regulating how much you can spend, so remember to be generous—within reason, of course.
After all that we’ve covered, it’s not difficult to notice certain Christmas spending trends. The US seems to be the world leader in Christmas spending, and the UK takes second place. However, that is not to say that Europeans and Aussies are lagging too far behind when it comes to holiday spending statistics.
The amounts spent in particular countries are not so much an indicator of their generosity due to large differences in their economies and buying power. It’s encouraging to see that Christmas spending statistics of even the less-developed countries seem to be showing upswings.
Online Christmas shopping is probably going to keep growing. Still, it’s unlikely that it will completely replace physical stores anytime soon, especially not during the holidays.