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Holiday shoppers ready to open purses: poll

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Holiday shoppers ready to open purses: poll
Christmas in Biel (Photo: Biel Seeland Tourismus).
13:36 CET+01:00
Swiss Christmas shoppers are set to be more generous this year than last, a poll showed Monday, indicating that consumers in Switzerland remained largely unaffected by the global economic downturn.

"Swiss consumers are not negatively impacted by the dreary economic perspectives and plan to increase their Christmas gift spending compared to last year," consultancy Ernst & Young said in a statement.

Swiss consumers are set to spend an average of 271 Swiss francs ($287) on Christmas gifts this year, which is 13 francs, or five percent, more than in 2011, according to a poll carried out by the independent marketing company Valid Research for Ernst & Young.

According to the telephone poll of 500 consumers at the end of October, shoppers would especially descend on specialised stores, where they expect to dish out more than half their Christmas budget, and increasingly abandon large shopping centres.

Some 12 percent of all Christmas gifts are meanwhile expected to be bought online, jumping to an average of 32 francs per shopper from 26 francs last year, the poll showed.

A dramatic hike in the value of the Swiss franc last year — which forced the Swiss central bank in September 2011 to set an exchange rate floor of 1.20 francs per euro in a bid to rescue Swiss retailing and exports — is also inspiring more people to go abroad for cheaper gifts.

Some 33 percent of Swiss shoppers are set to buy some of the their gifts abroad, up from 32 percent last year, while 12 percent said they planned to buy most of their gifts outside Switzerland, up from 7.0 percent a year ago, the poll showed.

"The expected results of the Christmas 2012 sales gives reason for hope for the Swiss retailing sector, which is in a harsh battle against the strength of the Swiss franc and the structural mutation of consumer behaviour," Martin Groeli, in charge of retail and consumer products at Ernst & Young, said in the statement.

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