This Christmas Comes with... Comparative Data
This article focuses on Christmas shopping. Namely, we present some key aspects related to Christmas habits, shopping behavior, as well as opinions regarding gifts and gift giving in Romania, by comparing data from 2016 to those from 2017. The research consisted of an online survey conducted on our platform www.questia.ro. The survey from 2016 covered 1262 respondents, while the survey from 2017 covered 1200 respondents. Both surveys have a +/- 3% margin of error when reported to the Romanian online population. Moreover, both surveys respected the same methodology of data collection and covered topics.
This year more Romanians will celebrate Christmas religiously (65.5%, as compared to 58.0% last year), with fewer saying that they don't have the necessary time to take part in any Christmas service. Added to these are those very few who say they are not religious (almost 2%).
Christmas remains a family holiday: most respondents spend Christmas with their extended families (68% in 2016, 66.3% in 2017), with their partner or spouse (42% in 2016, 45.0% in 2017), but also with friends (16.9% in 2016 and 15.5% in 2017) and some alone (almost 3% in both years). There are no significant changes between the two years, just a few higher percentages regarding spending Christmas with the spouses, instead of the extended families.
Christmas is where the Christmas tree is: home. Two-thirds spend Christmas at home (over 66% in both years), almost one quarter at a family member’s home (22.1% in 2016 and 21.4% in 2017), and relatively few at their partner’s home (4% in 2016, 2.9% in 2017). Only a small part of our respondents will be spending holidays far from home: on vacation in Romania (2.6% in 2016, rising in 2017) and abroad (0.6% in 2016, 1.1% in 017), at a friend’s home (over 2% in both years) or in a restaurant/pub (less than 1%).
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% in 2016, 49.9% in 2017). However, this year the percentage of those who some started to buy gifts two weeks ago has increased from 19.4% in 2016 to 22.8% in 2017, most probably due to Black Friday offers. The percentages of those who bought gifts 3-4 weeks ago, more than a month or earlier has stayed the same, well as those who declare they won’t buy presents this year (8.3% in 2016, 8.8% in 2017).
Regarding the planned budget, the ranges look similar in 2016 and 207, with some small adjustments. While in 2016, 11.8% of the respondents spent between 100 and 300 RON on gifts, in 2017 the percentage is lower. This year, more people will spend between 300 and 500 RON on gifts than the previous year, and even over 500 RON. Last year, most people spent between 100 and 300 RON on gifts.
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.
The top presents people intend to buy both this year and the ones intended in 2016 are similar: sweets, cosmetics or personal care products, games or toys and clothes or shoes (42.8%). Christmas decorations and ornaments have dropped this year, while we see an increase in gift packages and jewelry.
Electronics such as laptops, tablets or smartphones, smart technologies, gaming or TV/audio/photo products are also some of the gifts that people intend to offer. They present similar intentions in 2016 and 2017. Films/music and subscription-based services are gifts that are somewhat avoided both in the 2016 and in the 2017 Christmas.
When thinking about Christmas and Christmas gifts, most respondent's attitudes have stayed the same over the years. In this sense, the majority looks forward to this period so they can shop. Most of the respondents don’t worry that much about the money spent on Christmas gifts, yet they agree that it is hard to decide what types of presents they want to buy. Christmas is seen not so much as a stressful period for shopping (only 29.5% consider it stressful in 2016, while 30.5% in 2017) while respondents don’t see themselves as bound to spend money. This is consistent with the fact that only a few borrowed money from relatives or the bank in order to buy what they want. The good news is that almost everybody gets the gift they want for Christmas (67.7% in 2016 and 71.6% in 2017) and just a few would be very satisfied if they didn’t have to buy any Christmas gifts for the rest of their lives.
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 about 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.
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