The average brit is now halfway through Christmas shop

27 November 2015

  • Brits started shopping for Christmas three weeks ago on 2 November - but a small minority will leave it ‘til Christmas Eve
  • Women spend 60% more time shopping for Christmas than men
  • Brits spent £17bn on Christmas gifts last year
  • Those in the North East are the most generous at Christmas, while those in Yorkshire and the Humber spend the least on gifts

British consumers are exactly halfway through their Christmas shopping today, Friday 27 November, according to new research by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).

The average Brit began their Christmas shopping on 2 November this year, leaving over seven weeks to get everything in before the big day. This means that they are now exactly half way through their festive spending, with just over three weeks to go.

When it comes to planning and preparation, women tend to start their shop in October, allowing at least two months to get the gifts in. Men say they only need a few weeks, starting on 12 November on average, with a small minority leaving it until Christmas Eve[i]. This difference between the genders may be down to finding the time to fit the shopping in, as men spend just ten hours shopping on average, whereas women need over 16 hours – 60% more than their male counterparts!

Regardless of how long people take to shop there is no question preparing for Christmas is an expensive business. The average Brit spent £333 on Christmas presents last year, equating to a whopping £17bn across the UK[ii].

Those in the North East are the most generous spending £396 each on Christmas gifts, closely followed by the Scots who spend £375 each – challenging the national stereotype. While those in Yorkshire and the Humber appear to be the least generous spending just £267 each on presents – almost 20% less than the national average.

The biggest proportion of this spend will go on hi tech gadgets, such as smartphones, tablets and computer gaming equipment. Four in ten (38%) Brits are planning to buy some sort of gadget as a Christmas present, such as a smartphone, laptop or computer gaming equipment. Other popular gifts are books, toiletries such as designer perfume, clothes and toys.

The average household is worth a lot more in the run up to Christmas when the gifts and festive food and drink are taken into account. However, things can still go wrong and it’s not uncommon for pipes to burst in the run up to Christmas or for an opportune burglar to strike while the presents are under the tree, causing misery to those affected.

Because of this, most quality home insurance policies will automatically increase the amount of contents cover they give consumers for 30 days before and after Christmas.  This extra cover can make a real difference at this time of year and give peace of mind when preparing for the festive season.

To guide consumers through the world of insurance, the CII has created ‘Ciindy’ an online character to help people with any questions they have about insurance. Consumers can see Ciindy at, ask questions about insurance and view free online guides.

David Ross, director of communications at the CII, said: “Whether you are a lavish spender or a penny-pinching Scrooge at Christmas, a year-long planner or a last-minute trolley dash-er, you don’t want to find your Christmas ruined at the last minute. It pays to buy the right home insurance cover for your needs to give you peace of mind should the worst happen.”

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Christmas gift spend by region*

Spend on Christmas gifts

North East £396
Scotland £375
London £359
North West £340
South East  £328
South West £327
Wales £324
East Midlands £318
East/East Anglia £304
West Midlands £303
Yorkshire and the Humber £267

 *Table excludes Northern Ireland as the sample was too small to be statistically representative.