'Generous' Northern Ireland shoppers to provide Christmas cheer for local retailers

The north is the second most generous region in the UK when it comes to Christmas presents, according to a new survey.
Gareth McKeown

THE north is the second most generous region in the UK when it comes to Christmas presents, according to a new survey.

The latest trading analysis from PwC shows shoppers in Northern Ireland are expecting to spend an average of £423 on presents this festive season, only behind Scotland (£454) and it could result in a bumper Christmas for local retailers.

Those in the 35-44 year age bracket are set to shell out the most over the coming weeks, with an average spend of £522 predicted.

According to respondents, one in five consumers claim to have started their Christmas shopping earlier this year with the figure rising for under-35s in particular (over 30 per cent).

A total of 20 per cent of those surveyed said they did most of their Christmas shopping over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend.

Although the most popular time for buying Christmas presents is early to mid December, 6 percent of respondents, the vast majority of whom were men, say they intend to shop the week before Christmas, because they have no time before then.

The generous Christmas spending is further good news for Belfast city centre, which this week welcomed back retailers forced to close following the Primark fire on August 28.

In the aftermath of the blaze some areas of the city have suffered from a footfall decline of over 60 per cent.

PwC Northern Ireland partner, Janette Jones hailed the survey as a welcome boost for local retail.

"There should be some Christmas cheer for retailers as we close off 2018," she said.

"Our research shows that people will be hitting the shops in earnest this Christmas time. Overall, spending levels will be similar to last year, but what people spend their money on may be different - it looks as though more money is being spent on the essentials - Christmas dinner, food and drink, and children's clothing."

“With Christmas Day falling on a Tuesday this year, we believe that retailers may have a bumper shopping weekend as consumers will have a full weekend to make last minute purchases. We could even see an increase in high street footfall that weekend, which makes a change to the last few Christmases," Ms Jones added.

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