We'll be Europe's biggest spenders this Christmas
WE will remain the highest spenders in Europe in the run-up to Christmas despite cutting back for the third year in a row.
An average household is set to spend just under €1,000, way ahead of the European average of €590.
The money will be spent on gifts, food and drink and socialising over the festive period, according to a new study by financial services firm Deloitte.
An average household is set to splash out close to €500 on presents they will give to family and friends. This is down slightly from last year.
And turkey, ham and other traditional foods will burn a big hole in the income of households.
The average spend on food and drink is estimated to come in at €288, down from the previous year.
One area where most people do not plan to cut back is on socialising, where around €178 will be passed over to publicans and restaurant owners.
Consumers will also purchase a staggering 110,000 poinsettia plants this Christmas from the SuperValu chain alone.
The supermarket chain said these festive plants would be grown at glass-houses in Swords, north Dublin, and would be worth €470,000 to the growers Uniplumo, which employs 43 full-time staff and 28 seasonal workers.
The top three gifts most likely to be bought for adults are books, gift vouchers and cosmetics or perfumes.
But the gifts people would most like to get are books, followed by cash, and then clothes or shoes.
Spending in Ireland is way ahead of the average in Europe, where €590 is the norm.
Consumers in Luxembourg, who are also traditionally big spenders at Christmas, will spend an average of €815 per household.
This is just behind Swiss consumers, who are predicted to have an average spend of €816 a household. Once again, the most frugal spenders in Europe will be those in the Netherlands, who will spend on average €287 per household.
Although consumers here will spend less this year, they are less pessimistic than they were in 2011 in terms of the overall state of the economy.
But when it comes to the new year, around one-third of respondents believe that their spending power will fall.
Partner in Deloitte, Richard Howard, said: "Consumers in Ireland are slowly becoming less pessimistic, and this is positive to observe given the importance that consumer sentiment and spending is to the overall economy."
In a bid to save money, four out of 10 consumers plan to buy more products and gifts that are on sale.
Around one-third of consumers plan to buy less-expensive gifts this year.
And half of consumers say they plan to resist the temptation of using a credit card, loans from family or finance deals from shops.
But loyalty cards will feature as part of the shopping plans.
Irish consumers prefer schemes that earn points offering vouchers to spend in the store or with several retailers.