Christmas spending expected to stay at previous years’ levels

Renewed faith in the Finnish economy hasn’t yet loosened purse strings among the country’s residents, according to a recent annual survey. Nordea Bank says the average Finn is planning to spend 517 euros on Christmas gifts and supplies this year, roughly the same amount recorded in the last three years.

Chocolate is a popular Christmas gift in Finland. Image: Alpertti Rieskjärvi / Yle

A survey commissioned last week by Nordea Bank suggests that Finnish residents plan to spend an average of 517 euros on Christmas in 2016. The bank says that this figure would place the holiday budget at the same levels for the last three years running.

The bank’s breakdown states that an average of 305 euros will be used on gifts, while 212 euros will be spent on other Christmas purchases. For families with children, the average budget is a bit higher at 610 euros.

“Although consumer confidence in the Finnish economy was the highest it has been in five years this November, this is still not reflected in people’s Christmas budget plans. It could be that personal financial uncertainty is curbing possible holiday spending increases,” says Olli Kärkkäinen, a Nordea economist who specialises in the study of macro-level changes on households.

The annual TNS Gallup survey of more than a thousand Finnish residents revealed a gender difference: men plan to use more money this Christmas, while women intend to cut back on the number of purchases when compared to last year.

Less than half plan to shop online

Chocolate, clothing and toys were the top gifts on this year’s Christmas lists, with the traditional favourite in Finland – books – dropping from its top position in this year’s survey. Non-material gifts like gift cards are also becoming more popular. 

Four out of ten of the survey respondents planned to do at least some of their holiday shopping online.

Respondents were also asked if they set a maximum gift price, and 15 percent answered that they did. Results suggest that every fifth family set limits: the average ceiling for children’s presents was 50 euros, while the average limit for adult gifts was 30 euros.

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