This Tuesday Questia Group focuses on seasonal shopping. We compare some key aspects related to Easter and Christmas, from habits to shopping behavior, as well as opinions regarding gifts and gift giving in Romania. Our research was made through an online survey on our platform http://www.questia.ro covering 813 respondents. The survey was active between 12th and 13th April 2017.

For Christmas, we rely on data from our online research covering 1262 respondents, from our online survey carried in December 2016. We previously highlighted the findings in our article This Christmas comes with new data.

Seasonal holiday habits

The most important holidays in Romania are spent attending religious services (64.2% for Christmas and 78.6% for Easter); while there are others who spend holidays otherwise than attending religious services (34.0% in the case of Christmas, 19.5% during Easter) and a very small percent (1.1% for Christmas, 1.4% for Easter) are not interested in the holiday.

Religious behavior

Out of those who celebrate, participating in at least one holiday service is most common for both Christmas (58%) and Easter (57.6%). However, during Christmas, more people say they don’t have time to take part in any service (40.1%) as compared to Easter (10.6%).

Holiday spending time with family

Both Christmas and Easter are spent with family members: most of the Romanians spend the holidays with their extended families (68.0% during Christmas, 66.2% during Easter), with their partner or spouse (42.0% on Christmas, 43.4% on Easter), with friends (16.9% during Christmas, 17.9% during Easter), and some alone (3.1% on both holidays).

Holiday time

Christmas is where the Christmas tree is, while Easter is where the Easter eggs are dyed: home. Two-thirds spend Christmas (66.3%) and Easter (62.2%) at home, almost one quarter at a family member’s home (22.1% during Christmas and 22.9% during Easter), and relatively few at their partner’s home (4% during Christmas and 2.6% on Easter). However, during Easter, more people prefer traveling in Romania (4.8%) than during Christmas (2.6%). Spending holidays abroad, at a friend’s home or in a restaurant/pub are habits only a minority engage in.

Holiday locations

Seasonal spending

Christmas shopping has been a solid ritual of the holidays, especially in exchanging gifts with family members, friends or co-workers. However, Easter seems to be less about shopping and more about spirituality. In this sense, almost a quarter said they don’t buy gifts for Easter (25.7%), in comparison to 8.3% who said they didn’t buy anything for Christmas. With this exception, other shopping habits are similar for both holidays: usually gifts are bought a week before the holiday (54.3% on Christmas, 39.8% on Easter), two weeks before the holiday (19.4% for Christmas, 26.5% for Easter) or even 3 weeks or one month ago (more prominent on Christmas - 11.6% - than Easter 6.5%). This means that spending seems to be made later each season, while consumers have altered their way that they manage and spend their money. All these make it harder for retailers to plan for or predict spending patterns. See more on this issue here.

Shopping behavior

Another significant change occurs regarding spending habits. During Christmas, most respondents are not so forethought: 49.9% spend over their planned budget, but not much; as compared to Easter – when people have a strict budget they hold to (55.6%). Moreover, during Christmas, 2.4% say they spend a huge amount over their budget, while during Easter the percent reaches only 1.1%. Thus, people have different spending patterns during the two holidays. In fact, Christmas stands as a debating point for macro- and micro-economists. See more on this debate here.

Holiday shopping budget

Even though people tend to plan their budgets in advance, gifts bought for Christmas enjoy more value than the ones for Easter. In this sense, the planned budget ranges between 100 and 300 RON for 48.3% of the respondents for Christmas shopping and 54.8% for Easter; between 300 and 500 RON for 24.4% on Christmas and 18.9% on Easter, above 500 RON for 15.6% (Christmas) and 8.9% (Easter).

Holiday budget

Seasons for gift giving

As mentioned in our previous post, 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.

In this sense, top presents people buy during Christmas and Easter are sweets, clothes/shoes, cosmetics and personal care products. Other mentioned gifts are accessories, books, and gift packages.

Electronics such as laptops, tablets or smartphones – decrease during the Easter shopping (4.7%) than during Christmas (8.6%), along with smart technologies (2.9% during Easter and 6.6% during Christmas) or TV/audio/photo products (3.5% during Easter and 5% during Christmas) Gift cards have a slight increase this Easter (4.4% as to 4.8% during Christmas) or films/music (1% on Easter and 3.9% on Christmas) gifts that are somewhat avoided.

Holiday shopping

Both Christmas and Easter share similarities when it comes to Romanians’ attitudes towards shopping. In this sense, when thinking about holidays and gifts, the majority looks forward to this period so they can shop (73.5% for Christmas, 51.8% for Easter).

Holiday attitudes Most of the respondents don’t worry that much about the money spent on Christmas gifts (61.5% for Christmas, 48.4% for Easter).

Holiday attitudes 2

Yet they agree that it is hard to decide what types of presents they want to buy (71.3% for Christmas and 55.0% for Easter).

Holiday attitudes 3

Therefore, seasonal spending in Romania has its own particularities of their own. For instance, Christmas shopping is more intense than the Easter shopping. The planning, budget and spending behavior differs from one holiday to the other.

Don’t miss Questia Group's studies in the following weeks. Find out more about consumer behavior, attitudes, and beliefs regarding numerous topics, from banking to consumer goods.