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Are the Swiss big spenders when it comes to Christmas presents?

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Are the Swiss big spenders when it comes to Christmas presents?
How much do the Swiss spend on Christmas presents? Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Switzerland has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. But how much of this money is spent on Christmas gifts?


Given that the Swiss are frugal even in the best of times, and that the cost of living (inflation, as well as higher rents and health insurance rates) in the country has soared, will the people be in the Christmas shopping mood?

And if so, how much will they spend on gifts?

The only point of reference we have at this point is the holiday season of 2022 or, rather, the last four weeks of December.

Even though the inflation rate at that time (2.8 percent) was higher than it is currently (below 2 percent), and consequently many consumer goods were more expensive, people in Switzerland still managed to get into the holiday spirit — also in terms of shopping.

According to data from the auditing and consulting firm Ernst and Young (EY), 343 francs per capita were spent on Christmas gifts — a 3-percent increase over the previous year.

This may not seem like much, but compare it with neighbour Germany, where 'only' 250 euros (237 francs) per capita go toward Christmas presents — two euros less than in the previous year, according to EY. 


What about this year’s Christmas season?

It is too early to know how much will be spent on gifts, since December has just begun and many people postpone their shopping until later in the month.

However, based on retail figures from Black Friday (November 24th), which is often seen as precursor to Christmas shopping, the season has started with a bang.

Swiss consumers spent 490 million francs in 24 hours — 10 million francs more than the previous year.

According to The Monitoring Consumption project at the University of St. Gallen, this year again, the “consumption curve” in Switzerland is rising sharply. 


‘Irrational’ buying?

Taking into account the financial burdens faced by many households in Switzerland, why do the people continue to spend so much on Christmas gifts?

“Anyone who looks at consumer behaviour using traditional economic models, surely no longer understands anything,” economic psychologist Christian Fichter told Watson news platform.

He said that even though this ‘buying fever’ may be “irrational,” there are ways to explain it.

“First of all, the situation on the labour market is good and wallets are full. This is always the most important factor in purchasing decisions," he said.

"Secondly, our consumption needs remain despite the crisis atmosphere. And Christmas is sacred to us anyway.”
READ ALSO: Where can you shop on Sundays in Switzerland during December? 


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