New research from PriceGrabber has found that 47% of UK consumers plan to wait for the sales to complete between 10% and 50% of their Christmas shopping in a bid to spend less this year.
The survey of 1,000 UK online consumers also shows that many shoppers started their gift buying earlier in the year to spread the cost, with 21% beginning in October, 10% in September and a super-organised 14% beginning before September.
"The results indicate a tough Christmas ahead for some retailers, with 39% of shoppers planning to spend less money this year as a direct result of their current financial status," says PriceGrabber.
And the cut backs don't stop there, it says. "Some people, it seems, will not receive a gift at all this year with extended family (42%), acquaintances (50%) and service providers such as bin men and post men (41%) all being removed from shopper's gift lists this year. An unlucky 14% of significant others will also be going empty handed, while 32% will receive a practical gift, such as money or gift cards for food, petrol or other necessities, to ensure their gift goes a long way."
67% of those surveyed are researching and comparing their gifts online to ensure they get the best price, 38% will shop at discount or outlet stores and 10% will buy gift vouchers to ensure they stay strictly within budget. 7% will be making homemade gifts this year and 9% will not be buying or sending Christmas cards.
And, says PriceGrabber, "online shopping looks set to benefit from the increased caution with the convenience of shopping at any time (30%), ease of finding the lowest price (27%) and avoiding stressful crowds and parking (25%) all named as key influences. 49% of those surveyed plan on spending over half of their total budget online this year."
"Although our research gives a realistic view of reduced Christmas shopping budgets this year, it is comforting to see how many shoppers are researching their purchase decisions thoroughly online to help their budget stretch further," says PriceGrabber.co.uk's Russ Carroll. "Salary cuts and increased cost of living has hit everyone hard but taking advantage of some of the benefits of shopping online can really make a difference."