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Swiss Christmas gift budget shows economic confidence

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Swiss Christmas gift budget shows economic confidence
File photo: Alan Cleaver
10:51 CET+01:00
Swiss people will spend more on Christmas presents this year as confidence in the economy rises, according to a survey.

Ernst & Young’s annual survey of 500 Swiss Christmas shoppers found that the average budget for Christmas presents had risen to 294 francs, up seven percent on last year.

More than half (55 percent) intend to spend more than 200 francs on gifts, also an increase on last year.

Last year's edition of the survey showed Swiss shoppers were tightening their purse strings as Christmas gift budgets reduced by an average of five percent, over fears for the economy.

However in the past year the Swiss economy has experienced a moderate recovery, despite ongoing uncertainties related to Brexit and other world events, and this has had a positive effect on shoppers, said Ernst & Young in a statement.

“The Brexit decision, for example, hasn’t affected the financial markets and economy as much as was feared,” said Ernst & Young consumer expert Martin Gröli.

“Many Swiss consumers are confident and expect a lasting economic recovery,” he added.

However spending habits vary across the country.

While shoppers in five out of seven regions in Switzerland plan to increase their Christmas gift budget this year, those in the Lake Geneva area and in eastern Switzerland are intending to spend slightly less.

People with children intend to spend 331 francs, ten percent up on last year and the biggest budget of all demographics. However the over 66s have increased their spending the most, with a budget that is 18 percent higher than in 2015.

When it comes to choosing presents, half of Swiss shoppers prove unimaginative by giving gift vouchers or cash presents.

Books and e-books remain popular, but shoppers intend to spend 18 percent less on them than last year, found the survey.

Specialist shops are still the most popular places for picking up gifts, while only 17 percent of purchases are likely to be made online.

“Christmas sales are traditionally associated with walking about town and shoppers go to specialist shops with a precise idea for a present and ask for specific advice,” says Gröli.

“This experience is unique and cannot be compared to general shopping behaviour.”

The majority of shoppers will buy their presents in Switzerland, though 31 percent of those surveyed stated they would head abroad to buy Christmas gifts.

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