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Swiss to spend less this Christmas: survey

Caroline Bishop · 12 Nov 2015, 13:19

Published: 12 Nov 2015 13:19 GMT+01:00

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The survey of 500 people, carried out by an independent survey institute on behalf of international professional services firm Ernst & Young, found the average intended spend this year to be 275 francs, down from 289 francs last year.

Only half of consumers will spend more than 200 francs on Christmas presents, down from 61 percent according to last year’s survey.

A quarter of those surveyed said they intended to spend under 100 francs on gifts this festive season.

The results varied according to area and demographics.

While women had very slightly increased their budget on last year, men were intending to reduce it, from 311 francs to 276 francs.

Those under 55 will be 10 percent less generous this year, while shoppers aged between 56 and 65 years old intend to increase their spend on presents.

According to Ernst & Young, while the strong franc hasn’t had as bad an effect as feared, job losses and austerity measures imposed by Swiss companies have contributed to consumer worries.

“Swiss consumers’ Christmas present budget has decreased in nearly every population group,” said Martin Grölli of Ernst & Young in a statement.

“Reservations about the future economic situation and numerous austerity plans announced by large companies are... inciting consumers to become more prudent.”

Swiss people are most likely to give gift vouchers, cash and books this year, while clothes and jewellery –$48-million diamond rings not withstanding – will be less popular presents.

When choosing presents, price is a major factor for over a third of those surveyed, while product origin and the environment are also more important than last year.

“Not only do consumers want to offer quality, but they also want to be sure that their presents will last and are well-made,” said Grölli.

“Artificial values like the brand name are less important than before.”

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Interestingly, the survey found that online shopping will be five percent less popular among Swiss shoppers than last year.

“The general increase in online shopping doesn’t apply to Christmas,” said Grölli.

“People consider Christmas purchases as a special event. It’s not about finding a present as quickly and efficiently as possible but about having an emotional experience when buying,” he added, citing decorated shopping streets and festive music as attractive to consumers.

According to the survey the majority (59 percent) of Swiss don’t buy presents until December, with one in five leaving their shopping until the two weeks before Christmas. 

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Caroline Bishop (news@thelocal.ch)

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