shopping behavior

Monday brings fresh updates from Questia Group regarding Christmas shopping. Our study highlights some key aspects related to Christmas habits, shopping behavior, as well as opinions regarding gifts and gift giving in Romania. Our research was made through an online survey on www.questia.ro covering 1,262 respondents. The survey was active between the 13th and 15th of December.

Christmas habits

Romanians intend to celebrate Christmas religiously this year (64.2%), but there are some who won’t spend it religiously (34%), while a small percent of 1.1% say they are not interested in Christmas at all. Out of those who will celebrate it, 40.1% think they will not have time to take part in any Christmas services, while 58% say that they will participate in at least one Christmas service.

Christmas habits #1

Christmas remains a family holiday: most of the Romanians will spend Christmas with their extended families (68%), with their partner or spouse (42%), but also with friends (16.9%) and some alone (3.1%). Christmas is where the Christmas tree is: home. Two-thirds will be spending Christmas at home (66.3%), almost one quarter at a family member’s home (22.1%), and relatively few at their partner’s home (4%). Only a small part of our respondents will be spending holidays far from home: on vacation in Romania (2.6%) and abroad (0.6%), at a friend’s home (2.3%) or in a restaurant/pub (0.8%).

Christmas habits #2

Christmas shopping

Christmas shopping has become a solid ritual of the holidays, especially in exchanging gifts with family members, friends or co-workers. In this manner, the majority of our respondents say they started buying Christmas presents last week (54.3%), some started two weeks ago (19.4%) or even 3-4 weeks ago (11.6%). Some of the respondents started buying last month or earlier (6.3%) and a surprisingly small proportion of 8.3% declare they won’t buy presents this year. Most respondents are not so forethought: 49.9% spend over their planned budget, but not much, while 47.7% have a strict budget they hold on to. Only a small fraction of 2.4% spend a huge amount over their budget. At the same time, the planned budget ranges between 100 and 300 RON for 48.3% of the respondents, between 300 and 500 RON for 24.4%, above 500 RON for 15.6% and under 100 RON for 11.8%.

Christmas shopping spending

Gift giving

Gift giving is primarily a part of the social norms and customs of a society, regarded as an important aspect of building and bridging communities (more on this topic can be found in the works of social and cultural anthropologists who were interested in gift economies – Mauss, Malinowski, Bloch, Cheal to name a few).

As for the top presents people intend to buy this year, they consist of: sweets (58.3%), cosmetics or personal care products (50.7%), games or toys (43.8%), and clothes or shoes (42.8%). Christmas decorations and ornaments (34%) are also on the list, followed by accessories (27.1%), books (22.8%), gift packages (22.7%), jewelry (15.5%), home appliances (13.4%) or home and gardening products (11.4%).

Electronics such as laptops, tablets or smartphones (8.6%), smart technologies (6.6%), gaming (Xbox, PlayStation) (5.2%) or TV/audio/photo products (5%) are also some of the gifts that people intend to offer. Sports articles are on the list by 6.2%, stationery by 5.5%, while gift cards (4.8%) or films/music (3.9%) gifts that are somewhat avoided this Christmas.

Christmas gifts

When thinking about Christmas and Christmas gifts, the majority looks forward to this period so they can shop (73.5%). Most of the respondents don’t worry that much about the money spent on Christmas gifts (61.5%), yet they agree that it is hard to decide what types of presents they want to buy (71.3%). Christmas is seen not so much as a stressful period for shopping (only 29.5% consider it stressful) while respondents don’t see themselves as bound to spend money (58.3%). This is consistent with the fact that only 12.3% borrowed money from relatives or the bank so to be able to buy what they want (12.3%). The good news is that almost everybody gets the gift they want for Christmas (67.7%) and just 14.6% would be very satisfied if they didn’t have to buy any Christmas gifts for the rest of their lives.

Attitudes towards gifts

Therefore, according to our study, we might say that this Christmas won’t be all about the money for most Romanians. It will be mostly about family time and celebration. Even if respondents are going to shop, they have set a budget and intend to spend not much over what they’ve planned. Thus, the shopping fever will have fewer economic consequences that one might think of. Also, respondents say that during this period they won’t let themselves get worried for spending money, because it will be for gift giving, a sign of appreciation for their loved ones. The gifts most Romanians will exchange this Christmas are sweets, personal care products, games and toys as well as clothes and shoes. Those related to hobbies and leisure such as books, sports articles and films and music are rather a second choice.

Stay connected to Questia Group and find out more about where consumers shop and why, or the digital impact on holiday shopping in our next study. Until then, Merry Christmas!