How the UK will be behaving at Christmas

At Spark Emotions, we conduct our monthly Mood of the Nation study into how people are feeling and for December we focussed in on how the UK is feeling about Christmas. After such a turbulent year, we wanted to understand how much this would affect peoples behaviour at this festive time. In this article, we talk about how people are planning for their Christmas Day, whether that is buying gifts or visiting friends and family.

A relaxation of guidelines

We’ve seen significant pressure mounted on the UK government to reconsider their relaxation of COVID-19 guidelines during the Christmas period. Wales and Scotland have already amended their rules, whilst Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, urged those in England to ‘have a merry little Christmas’.

It has been suggested that the relaxation of guidelines were put in place as officials feared that the UK wouldn’t follow strict rules during the Christmas period. Indeed, Christmas plans appear to have been consistent since November, with most people (72%) choosing to stay at home (although some of this number will be mixing with other households while at home). 1 in 4 adults (24%) are planning on visiting friends and family on Christmas day, while only a very small proportion planned to eat at a pub or restaurant, even before the renewed regional tiers were announced.

A cheaper Christmas to usual

As well as a quieter celebration, Christmas in 2020 looks to be a cheaper one. 1 in 3 UK adults are planning on spending less on gifts this year compared to last year. Financial concerns play a large role here, but we also see that 1 in 3 adults are buying fewer gifts this year, as they are seeing fewer people at Christmas. For similar reasons, 1 in 3 adults are also planning to spend less on food and drinks this year compared to previous years, causing concern for some retailers.

Looking ahead

With pressure already mounting on the UK economy, a lack of spending over Christmas will be another body blow to finish the year. Many businesses will be looking at how they optimise their trade plans going into 2021 to make up for the financial impacts of 2020.

At Spark Emotions, we can help you understand your customers better than ever before. Our Trends and Foresight business unit allows you to gain a deep understanding of what is driving your customers, helping you to develop a proposition that taps into their emotions. 

If you would like to see our full December Mood of the Nation, get in touch below

Written by Scott Willey, Associate Director at Spark Emotions
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Scott via email or connect with him on LinkedIn