Mindshare’s Reality Check report solicited the opinion of over 1,000 adults to glean advance sentiment toward the pending holiday season, unearthing widespread gloom in the process – with those feeling very negative on the calendar endpoint standing at 14%, almost five times higher than last year.
Only a quarter of those quizzed felt positive about the pending break – a 25% decline on last year, with four in 10 concerned that they will not be able to afford the day of decadence.
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The souring sentiment is blamed on the cost of living crisis, with three in 10 expected to fall back on credit card spending to tide them over, with those aged 35-54 most likely to voice concern.
Asked what will be prioritized this Christmas, 78% said they would emphasize saving over spending – with 79% expecting to stay in rather than head out and 74% holding back from indulgent excesses.
Julia Ayling, head of research and insights at Mindshare UK, said: “Regardless of financial position, people will behave very differently this Christmas. All brands, even those that have traditionally been fairly recession-proof, will need to adapt to this.
“The ‘squeezed middle’ are making changes to make sure their loved ones can still enjoy Christmas. This group needs support from brands to spread the cost over a longer period, treat their kids and find alternatives and substitutes that celebrate the joy of giving rather being about the monetary value.”
Amid the gloom Mindshare strikes a note of optimism, pointing to the fact that 67% are reining in gift expectations and 56% are prioritizing scarce pounds and pence on loved ones rather than themselves.
The findings follow a separate YouGov/LTK study, which found consumers were still willing to spend, but only if the price was right.