“While the past year at l has unearthed a vast amount of new consumer trends and market information – with Christmas just around the corner, we’ve looked into our market intelligence to find out just what Brits do to make their festive season special. Some might surprise you…

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A Christmas dinner:

For many, Christmas is synonymous with time spent in the kitchen, rediscovering the joy of home cooking. According to Mintel’s research:

– One in five (20%) Brits admit that they only bake for a special occasion such as Christmas.
– It’s not Christmas without turkey. The nation spent £307million in 2011 (est.) on turkey.
– Christmas is a key time in the calendar for nuts and dried fruit. Overall, the market for nuts, seeds and dried fruit was worth £579 million in 2010.
– Over seven in 10 (73%) UK consumers are trying their hand at home baking, with standard cakes having the greatest appeal (42%).
– Brits spent £163 million on Christmas chocolate in 2010, less than Easter (£264 million) and more than Mothers Day (£22 million).
– More than six in 10 (61%) British consumers will share chocolates with friends and family when they come to visit them. It looks like, with more time spent entertaining in the home, a box of chocolates is the perfect accompaniment to a night in.
– What about adding an Italian twist in the Christmas menu, such as the Italian Christmas classic Panettone? According to Mintel’s GNPD, in 2010 up to 16 different types of Panettone were launched in the UK. And with flavours, the chocolate version is the most popular, accounting for three in 10 (31%) of new panettone launches in 2010.

Time for a toast!

– It’s not Christmas without a toast. Three in five British consumers who buy alcohol over the Christmas period buy it as a gift.
– Wine is the favourite in-home drink: white wine is the best choice for 44% of Brits, strictly followed by red wine which has 40% of preference.
– Like it or not, liqueurs are synonymous with Christmas: 71% of Brits will have one during the festive season.
– In 2010, Brits spent £226 million on Baileys and other cream-based liqueur – down from £251 in 2008.
– Christmas is also an excuse to try something different. Some two in five (39%) consumers find themselves having drinks outside of their normal repertoire over the Christmas period.
– Over Christmas, almost a quarter (23%) of Brits buy more expensive alcohol types or brands than usual.
– Some 61% of Brits make sure to stock up on alcohol for when people come around.
– Three in five UK consumers (61%) claim that they buy alcohol as a gift over Christmas.

Gifts and decorations:

– Clothing and footwear are the most popular Christmas present choice in the UK. Last Christmas, almost six in 10 (59%) Brits bought either an item of clothing or shoes as a Christmas present, while 49% of Brits bought perfumes and aftershaves (49%).
– Books are a common gift choice too: half (49%) of Brits bought one as Christmas gift, with British women (56%) more likely to buy one than British men (43%).
– Over three in 10 (32%) Brits bought jewellery last Christmas, with an average spend per head of £88.
– The largest amounts are spent on electrical goods, with an average spend per head of £179 during Christmas 2010.
– Some 30% of Brits said that they spent less in 2010 compared to 2009, while 23% say they spent more.
– Chocolate: always a popular choice as a gift. Some 77% of Brits think that giving chocolate as a gift is an easy option. Over half (52%) actually admit that when they cannot think what gift to buy for someone, they buy them chocolates.
– Moreover, almost two thirds (62%) of consumers buy boxed chocolates to give someone as a gift for Christmas. Partner or spouses are the most common recipients, (52%), followed by friends (43%) and oneself (33%).
– Some 73% of British women have received fragrance at Christmas as a gift.
– The majority (56%) of Brits prefer to buy a toy with an educational element.
– Brits spent £2.2 billion on toys in 2010 (full year).
– What about a watch? Over four in 10 (42%) consumers would be happy to receive a watch as a gift, with British women the most likely (45% of them) to appreciate it, compared to 39% of British men.
– Decorations: some 14% of Brits bought Christmas decorations and trees from garden centres, 8% in DIY shops.
– Pets: more than one in four (28%) pet owners have bought a Christmas stocking for their pet, rising to 39% among dog owners.
– Then, there are the happy greetings to friends and family: Brits spent £259 million on Christmas cards in 2010.

Christmas shopper attitudes:

Despite a difficult economic year, latest Mintel’s data suggests that consumers still want to celebrate and splash money on gifts, they just seem to be more prudent in the way they spend it:

– This year, 35% of Brits declare to have a budget for Christmas shopping and that they will stick to it. This compares to 26% of consumers doing so last year.
– Only 4% revealed that they had to go into debt (such as overdrafts) to pay for this Christmas, as opposed to 7% last year.

Stress free Christmas:

Christmas is time for family gatherings and some quality time with your loved ones – but the Christmas shopping ritual preceding this can be very stressful. According to Mintel’s retail data:

– A quarter (24%) of Brits buy Christmas gifts throughout the year.
– To avoid the crowd, 24% of Brits will shop online at Christmas and around the same number (23%) actually prefer to buy their Christmas presents online.

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