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Friday 20 September 2019

Revealed: The average household spend this festive season

  • 86pc say season 'too commercial'

  • Average household spend of €1,200

  • 84pc say Dublin benefiting most

NEW POLL: Many people believe Christmas is too commercial
NEW POLL: Many people believe Christmas is too commercial

Alan O'Keeffe

The vast majority of people believe Christmas has become too commercial, but households nationwide will still spend on average €1,200 this festive season, according to a Sunday Independent/Kantar Millward Brown opinion poll.

The poll comes as Ireland's Christmas shopping spree hits new heights this year, with the country's grocery bill in December alone set to reach €1bn for the first time.

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However, today's nationwide poll finds that a massive 86pc believe the celebration of the birth of Christ has become too commercial.

A breakdown shows households will, on average, spend €525 on presents, €292 on food, €147 on drink in the home and a further €131 in pubs as well as €139 going to restaurants over the period.

Those polled resoundingly believe the commercialisation of Christmas has gone too far, even if they still intend to spend big during the festive season.

The sense of rampant commercialisation is stronger in Leinster (94pc) and Munster (92pc) and among those aged 45 to 54, mostly parents will be the highest spenders. The lowest spenders are pensioners aged over 65.

The average household spend on Christmas cheer is substantially higher in Dublin than in other regions.

This will also strengthen a belief in today's poll that people overwhelmingly feel Dublin has benefited far more than other regions from the economic recovery.

Dublin residents will spend most on gifts for family members, on average €638, compared to the lowest in the rest of Leinster at €408.

And Dublin residents will be far ahead of those in other regions when it comes to going out on the town. In Munster, people expect to spend €93 in restaurants, but in Dublin, the average spend on dining out will be €228.

While Leinster households will spend €91 in pubs, in Dublin, the average household spend will be €210.

In other trends, online shopping continues to make inroads into the Christmas spending patterns of the nation with one in four euro being spent online.

People in the 25-34 age bracket are doing the biggest percentage of spending online, buying 41pc of their Christmas goods over the internet. Those aged 18 to 24 years will be doing 38pc of their spending online.

However, those over 65 will do 93pc of their spending in shops, as will 84pc of those aged 55 to 64, and 85pc of the farming community.

The poll reveals that Dublin is the clear winner when people are asked which region has benefited most from the economic recovery.

Some 84pc of people said they think Dublin has been the main beneficiary of the upsurge in the economy.

This belief is shared by Dubliners themselves (92pc) while more than three out of four people elsewhere in Ireland believe Dublin has enjoyed the lion's share.

When the nation was asked which region they believe has benefited least from the recovery, the highest percentage (41pc) said Connacht/Ulster. Some 74pc of people living in Connacht/Ulster share that view.

Dublin residents themselves seem aware of this imbalance, with just 3pc stating Dublin has benefited the least from the recovery.

Separately, the poll also asked people about the role of TDs - to solve local or national issues: more than a third (34pc) said local issues, just over a quarter (27pc) said national, and 35pc said both, while 4pc did not know.

In other words, 69pc believe a TD should not exclusively focus on national issues. Remarkably, both men and women were precisely at one on the question.

Labour supporters (41pc) were the highest percentage who believe TDs should be primarily concerned with national issues. Sinn Fein supporters (49pc) said they believe TDs should be primarily concerned with local issues.

Some 44pc of the farming community agreed that TDs should be mainly concerned with local issues.

While a huge majority of Irish people told pollsters that Christmas has become too commercial, church leaders have been speaking in recent days about the meaning of Christmas and how people can reach out to others less fortunate.

In a joint Christmas statement from the Catholic and Church of Ireland Archbishops of Armagh, Dr Eamon Martin and Dr Richard Clarke, they called for people to help the homeless.

They said in their statement: "Jesus readily identified with the homeless... even at the beginning of his life - in the story retold in the Christmas Gospel - he was born and laid in a manger, not within the warmth of a human home.

"Jesus said that when you and I reach out the hand of friendship to those in need, it is the same as reaching out to him, as much as reaching out for him."

The two archbishops referred to the visit of Pope Francis during the summer to the Capuchin Day Centre for the homeless in Dublin.

They quoted the words of the pope to homeless people: 'Do you know why you come here with trust? Because they help you without detracting from your dignity. For them, each of you is Jesus Christ.'

Sunday Independent

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