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One in three Brits have started Christmas shopping

Written by: Rebecca Goodman
Around 16 million people have already started their Christmas shopping, research shows.

Christmas is not for another 12 weeks but 31% of eager shoppers – and those wanting to spread the cost of the festive season – have started buying gifts, wrapping paper, food and decorations.

It wasn’t just gift shopping as 13% said they had already started shopping for Christmas jumpers.

A fifth (19%) said they are planning to start shopping for Christmas earlier this year, according to research from American Express.

The reason for starting early could be to budget for the festive season and to keep costs down at a time when the price of almost everything is going up.

November was the most popular month to start shopping for the festive season, according to the study, and 25% of the 2,000 adults it surveyed said that was the month they would start. But 14% would wait until December before hitting the shops.

Younger shoppers are more likely to have started Christmas shopping, with a third of those aged 18 to 34 starting their shopping earlier than usual this year.

Books take top gift spot

Books are the most popular gift, with 32% of respondents saying they would like one. Other popular presents include toys, clothes, and beauty products.

Nikki Edelman, vice president at American Express, said: “The festive season always comes around sooner than we’d expect and we’re sure to see seasonal gifts and decorations popping up in shops soon.

“However, our research shows that shoppers aren’t waiting for shopfronts to change as they try to plan ahead, buying gifts even earlier in the year when deals can be easier to come by.”

Cutting costs with discounts and cashback

This year is a little different to most as we’re in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis. Many people are struggling to meet the cost of their everyday bills even before thinking about Christmas spending.

Leaving Christmas spending until December can put pressure on your budget and spreading out purchases through the year can make the financial burden easier to manage.

There are lots of ways to cut costs too, such as by using points and rewards and not buying brand new items.

However, many people may choose not to give gifts this year, or to opt for something like a Secret Santa instead to reduce the amount they are spending on Christmas gifts.

Of those asked, 59% said they would be using loyalty rewards, points and cashback this year to help with budgeting.

To take advantage of post-Christmas sales, 5% said they started shopping for this Christmas in January 2022 to keep costs down.

To help with budgeting, and for consumers who started their shopping early, Iceland launched its earliest ever Christmas saving scheme back in August.

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