61% not planning to socialise in other households this Christmas

New research finds 52% plan to spend €100 – €200 on groceries this Christmas



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30 November 2021

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Aldi, Dunnes and Tesco are the top three grocery retailers Irish people plan to visit for their big food shop this Christmas. This is according to content marketing agency Zahra’s end-of-year consumer sentiment report, which investigated the feelings, shared experiences, and pain points of 6,017 consumers across Ireland.

The report found that 65% of people anticipate having to conduct several trips to the shop to get everything they need for the main event, while 35% plan to bag everything in one trip.

When asked to estimate spend on the food shop, 52% said they will spend €100 – €200, while 34% will set aside €200 – €300. Just under 10% will spend more than €300.

Budget concerns

Over half (59%) of respondents said they are concerned about budgeting this Christmas. The top three causes for concern are purchasing presents for loved ones (90%), grocery expenses (52%) and social events (15%). A quarter of respondents (25%) plan to spend less this year than they did last Christmas.

The research showed that 65% of parents plan to spend between €100 – €200 per child this Christmas, 16% aim to set aside €300 per child, and 10% anticipate they will spend up to €400 on each little one. When asked where parents source their presents from, 73% said mainstream stores such as Smyths Toys, over half (57%) rely on online, while over a third (34%) head to the popular middle aisle in grocery stores such as Aldi and Lidl.

Supporting local is a top priority for parents. Indeed, 77% said they would support local businesses when purchasing presents for their children. Over three quarters (77%) said they did not experience difficulties sourcing children’s presents due to supply issues caused by Brexit.

Pared back Christmas

Covid-19 has changed the meaning of Christmas for some, Zahra’s research found. Upon reflection of last year’s festive season, 81% said they experienced a more pared back Christmas. Over three quarters (78%) said they prefer a  quiet, intimate celebration, while just 22% favour a big celebration with everyone under one roof. Over half (53%) found Christmas 2020 to be more relaxing in comparison to previous years.

People across the nation are treading cautiously when it comes to visiting the homes of family and friends over Christmas. The study found 61% of participants are not planning to socialise in other households over the festive break. This will follow through to Christmas Day, which will be a small affair for most. Almost all research participants (91%) said their household will cater for immediate family only, while 9% will be expecting immediate and extended family and friends for dinner.

Booster jab

Meanwhile, Zahra found the majority (84%) of people across Ireland would avail of the Covid-19 booster jab if it was offered to them. Among those who are opposed to receiving the booster, 44% said it was “unnecessary”, 36% said they are already following the necessary measures to avoid contracting the virus, and 12% said they were reluctant due to having experienced bad side-effects from receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.

Although the Irish government plans to extend the vaccine rollout to five-12-year-olds, over half (51%) of parents with children in this age group said they would not feel comfortable with their child receiving the jab. On the flipside, of those research participants that were pregnant in the past year, 54% said they did not choose to avail of the vaccination. Most of this group (62%) were not comfortable receiving the vaccine during pregnancy.

Winter lockdown

Almost three quarters (73%) said they are concerned about contracting Covid-19 over the winter period. When asked if participants feel another lockdown is on the cards, over half (54%) believe a winter lockdown is likely – however, (51%) do not believe another lockdown is necessary.

While Ireland’s hospitality and entertainment industries are open for business, almost three quarters (73%) of people across Ireland are hesitant to embrace the loosening of restrictions around dining out, heading to the pub and attending gigs. As such, the majority (88%) believe their social life has not resumed to its pre-pandemic ways. When asked why, 38% said they are nervous about the repercussions of catching the virus, 32% state their immediate group is not as social as it was prior to the pandemic, while 29% said they enjoy the pace of life acquired during Covid-19.

“The results from our end-of-year consumer sentiment report, based on the life experiences of over 6,000 people from our owned media communities, paint a very clear picture of what winter 2021 will look like for people across Ireland,” said Gina Miltiadou, managing director and co-founder of Zahra. “The vast majority are committed to persevering over the coming months in a bid to protect public health, and this theme follows through in how the nation plans to celebrate Christmas. Covid has changed how we as a nation interpret the festive season, which is evident in spending, socialising, and pace of life.”



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