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Kids come first as parents plan to shell out £2 billion on Xmas gifts

Press release: 03/12/2010

  • Mums and dads will spend £168 on presents per child this Christmas
  • Over half (53%) of all parents will spend the same or more on their children than they did last year
  • Two-thirds (62%) of parents plan to spend less on other family members this year to help balance budgets

With Christmas just three weeks away, and children up and down the country looking forward to ripping open their presents, the Cost of a Child study from insurance, investment and retirement group LV=, reveals parents will spend a bumper £2.2 billion[1] on festive presents for their children this year. With an average of £148 to be spent on gifts and £20 on stocking-fillers, parents are collectively going to fork out £168 per child under 18. Despite the current economic backdrop more than half of all parents (53%) will be spending the same, or more, on Christmas presents for their children than they did last year.

‘Tis the season to be jolly

The amount parents will spend on Christmas presents also rises the older the child gets. Kids under four will have £124 spent on them, rising to £201 for children aged 11 to 18. How much parents spend on Christmas presents also differs around the UK. Those in the North East are the most generous and will spend an average of £226 on presents and stocking-fillers, £58 more than the national average. Those in the East Midlands will be spending the least at £151 per child. Londoners are intent on splashing out an average of £162 on their sons and daughters this year.

The Christmas ‘Pinch’

Despite more than half of all parents willing to spend more than last year, the financial pressure of giving their children what they want this Christmas is clearly taking its toll. The LV= Cost of a Child study reveals over a quarter of parents (27%) are feeling under more financial pressure than they did last year, possibly reflecting the increased spend by many parents.

With kids' presents taking a large chunk out of their Christmas budget, nearly two-thirds of parents (63%) admit they will have to cut back on how much they spend on other family members this Christmas to help balance their budget.

However, although every parent will want to make it a special Christmas for their kids, a third (36%) of parents say they will need to cut back on what they spend on presents for their children. Some parents are clearly looking to avoid any tears on Christmas morning with one in ten (9%) having already spoken to their children about not expecting as much this year.

Mark Jones, LV= head of protection, said: "Children will be filled with glee hoping they get the latest toy or gadget this Christmas. And kids clearly come first despite the economic downturn as over half of parents are still intent on spending the same, or more, on their children as they did last year. With mum and dad forking out £168 on average per child, parents seem to be keen to make it a Christmas to remember, without scrimping too much on cost.

"Many families will be feeling the financial strain of keeping their kids happy this Christmas, so it's important that parents try and look beyond the short term and also ensure that they have suitable budgets and long term financial plans in place. Even a small drop in a family's income can make it hard to balance the books, especially at this time of year, and people should make sure they have adequate protection in place to look after their finances if the unexpected should happen."

LV='s annual Cost of a Child study, released earlier this year, showed that on average parents are now likely to have to shell out more than £201,000 on raising a child from birth to the age of 21[2].


[1] Research carried out online from 2-5 November 2010 by Opinium Research on behalf of LV=. Total sample size was 546 parents with children under 18 years old.

£2.28bn being spent on a child’s Christmas presents is calculated by taking into account the number of children receiving Xmas presents (98% of total number of children (13.91m according to the ONS) is = 13.63m) multiplied by the average spend £168 = £2,289,840,000 or £2.28bn

[2] Figures from Opinium Research. Total sample size was 3,953 adults over the age of 18 years. Fieldwork was undertaken from 26 January - 1 February 2010. The survey was carried out online.

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