COVID-19 has put a dampener on Christmas spending this year according to new research by global financial comparison website Finder.com.

A survey of 1,510 respondents reveals 56% of South Africans aged 18 and above – equivalent to 21.5 million people – are planning to spend less money on Christmas compared to last year. 

Those planning to spend less are reducing their budget by a third on average (33%). With last year’s Christmas spend averaging around R6,585 per person this means a forecast spend of R4,432 per adult (R2,153 less).

The flow on effect will hit retailers and service providers, costing them an estimated R26bn in reduced sales.

Susannah Binsted, money specialist at Finder, said some people are cutting costs harder than others.

“A quarter (25%) will at least halve their annual Christmas outlay, while one in five are looking to shave off around 5-10%,” she said.

“There are three months to go until Christmas – this is still enough time to create a feasible budget and work out your savings strategy. 

“Planning ahead can save you big bucks and reduce stress, especially if you spread the cost over a number of months rather than holding out until December. 

“By shopping early you can take note of the best retail prices and take advantage of sales events like Black Friday.

“But keep in mind that many consumers will be looking to shop online this year so don’t leave online purchases to the last minute and make sure you check shipping and delivery times.”

Are you planning to spend less this year on Christmas compared to last year?
Yes, 5% less –15%
Yes, 10% less – 5%
Yes, 20% less – 6%
Yes, 30% less – 5%
Yes, 50% less – 9%
Yes, More than 50% less  -16%

Tips for lowering your Christmas spend:
1. “Shop around: You’re only a few clicks away from comparing prices. Jump online and research the product you’re after to see if it’s in stock elsewhere at a cheaper price.
2. “Stick to your budget. Be realistic about the amount you can spend, and keep track of your purchases so you know where your money is going.
3. “Be sales savvy. Major sales days can see prices slashed across a huge range of products. Pencil the dates into your calendar so you don’t miss out!

Find the full report here: finder.com/za/christmas-spending-statistics