Consumers expected to spend more this Christmas

The Christmas light-up along Orchard Road.
The Christmas light-up along Orchard Road.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Consumers are expected to spend more this Christmas compared with last year even though they are more pessimistic on the economy, according to a survey.

Consumers have set aside S$769 for Christmas shopping this year, 8 per cent more than last year. However, 27 per cent them expect the economy to decline next year, up 9 percentage points from last year, found the survey commissioned by United Overseas Bank (UOB) and conducted by Ipsos.

Ipsos interviewed 500 people in Singapore aged between 25 and 55 with a minimum monthly personal income of S$2,500 around the middle of November.

Spouses and partners are those most likely to receive gifts this year, with 63 per cent of respondents planning to give their significant other a Christmas present.

Men will be more generous than women in this regard, spending S$386 on a gift for their loved one, nearly double of the S$186 spent by the ladies, the survey found.

Among the respondents, 49 per cent said they would give gifts to friends and 39 per cent said they would buy presents for colleagues.

Respondents are planning to spend the most on themselves. They reserved close to S$500 to purchasing gifts for themselves, a significant increase from S$292 in 2014.

The average budget allocated to buying spouses and partners presents remains relatively unchanged at S$298 (S$302 in 2014).

Business associates can expect a more expensive gift this year, as respondents said they would spend S$317 on building business relationships, an increase from S$207 last year.

It seems that men and women are both misjudging what members of the opposite gender want.

Women most frequently desired department store vouchers (36 per cent), chocolates (36 per cent) and perfumes (30 per cent). However, men are more likely to choose chocolates (44 per cent) for the women in their lives. Only 16 per cent would opt for department store vouchers.

Men, on the other hand, want a smartphone (22 per cent) and shopping vouchers (18 per cent). Women respondents however, planned to give the men in their lives chocolates (64 per cent), cologne (42 per cent) and toiletries (38 per cent).

jkoh@sph.com.sg