Shoppers spending less on Christmas gifts this year, especially for themselves: UOB

Shoppers at Robinsons at The Heeren in Orchard Road on Nov 28, 2014. Shoppers have tightened their budgets when it comes to buying gifts for the festive season this year, according to a recent survey commissioned by United Overseas Bank Group. -- PHO
Shoppers at Robinsons at The Heeren in Orchard Road on Nov 28, 2014. Shoppers have tightened their budgets when it comes to buying gifts for the festive season this year, according to a recent survey commissioned by United Overseas Bank Group. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 

SINGAPORE - Shoppers have tightened their budgets when it comes to buying gifts for the festive season this year, according to a recent survey commissioned by United Overseas Bank Group (UOB).

The survey, which involved 500 people here aged between 25 and 55, found that respondents are setting aside $709 for Christmas shopping this year, down 20 per cent from last year.

UOB economist Mr Francis Tan said this year's smaller gift budget was expected, due to the cautious economic outlook for 2015.

"Consumers are careful and are generally spending less on non-essential items such as presents. In this environment where budgets are tighter, it is heartening to see that people are prepared to spend less on themselves in favour of their families."

Indeed, the desire to give seems more alive than ever this year, the survey showed. The bulk of respondents' budgets, some 76 per cent, will be spent on gifts for family members, up from 61 per cent last year.

The budget for self-gifting also shrank to $292 from $479 last year and $490 the year before.

While respondents in the past two years mostly said that the most expensive gift under the tree would be for themselves, shoppers this year said they plan to pamper their spouse or partner with the priciest present, saying they would set aside $302 on average for this.

According to the survey, consumers are also turning to discounts to get the most out of their tighter budgets.

65 per cent of respondents said they do their research on the best Christmas deals, while 61 per cent of them said they make use of credit and debit card discounts when shopping.