Research - 11.12.2014 - 00:00 

Full wish lists for Christmas

How much money do Swiss people spend on Christmas presents? What products are on the 2014 wish lists? What role does shopping tourism play in the Christmas business? This is what the Institute of Retail Management at the HSG examined.
Source: HSG Newsroom


11 December 2014. Prof. Dr. Thomas Rudolph and Dr. Maximilian Weber of the Institute of Retail Management at the University of St.Gallen conducted the survey. They interviewed 1,500 shoppers in pedestrian precincts in German-speaking Switzerland.

In comparison with the preceding year, consumers have more concrete ideas. Shopping for presents abroad has registered a slight decrease this year. 17% of interviewees indicated that they wanted to increase their expenditure on Christmas presents this year in comparison with 2013. Conversely, 13% of interviewees said that they wanted to reduce their Christmas spending by an average of CHF 184. 70% are planning to spend exactly the same amount of money on Christmas presents as the year before.

Money spent on presents

This year, consumers are intending to purchase Christmas presents for an average of CHF 448. In comparison with the preceding year, this is a slight reduction of just under CHF 10. On average, men spend more on presents than women. Whereas young consumers between 10 and 20 are intending to invest an average CHF 225 in presents, the 50-60 age group display most generosity with CHF 720. Shopping for Christmas presents is a relevant topic for almost all demographic groups.

Only 4% of consumers do not want to spend any money on Christmas presents this year. The year before, more than 10% of consumers did not know what they wanted for Christmas. This year, there is no lack of ideas: the proportion of people who do not want anything has almost halved this year. Whereas women frequently had full wish lists, too, men are now catching up with specific ideas for wishes. With increasing age, however, both genders have fewer and fewer wishes. Thus 10% of consumers between 60 and 70 again still do not know what they want for Christmas.

Changing Christmas wishes

This year's favourite Christmas wishes are clothing and footwear (26%), books (24%) and tickets for concerts and events (23%). In comparison with the preceding year, consumers' preferences have changed a great deal. Thus food (+5%) such as fine foods and chocolates, clothing and footwear (+4%), sports goods (+3%) and jewellery (+3%) are more popular as Christmas presents this year.

Media such as DVDs and CDs (-3%), perfume and cosmetics (-3%), mobility and travelling (-2%), as well as computer games (-2%), however, are more rarely to be found on consumers' wish lists. Women are placing clothing and footwear, as well as books, at the top of their wish lists, whereas men's wish lists are dominated by books, sports goods and admission tickets.

Among consumers under 30, clothing and footwear, as well as sports goods, are the most popular Christmas wishes. The most frequent wishes of consumers over 60 are books and admission tickets.

Shopping tourism for Christmas presents has decreased slightly

40% of consumers indicated that they were buying some of their Christmas presents abroad. In the preceding year, the proportion of shopping tourists still amounted to 44%, whereas in 2012, only 33% of consumers said that they were buying some of their Christmas presents abroad. Consumers under 40 purchase Christmas presents abroad with particular frequency, whereas the proportion of shopping tourists over 70 is distinctly lower.

Photo: Photocase / Francesca Schellhaas