By Claire West

A YouGov SixthSense report into Christmas 2010 spending habits reveals that celebrants intend to spend less this year than last. Further findings from YouGov also suggest that people are increasingly less likely to make ‘big ticket’ purchases in the run up to the holidays.

While 14% of UK consumers who celebrate Christmas are spending more on yuletide festivities than they did last year, almost 1 in 4 claims that they intend to spend less. People are also wary of unnecessarily forking out large amounts for Christmas-specific items; 7 in 10 people intend to spend less than £50 combined on cards, a Christmas tree and decorations this holiday season.

46% say that they intend to spend between £100-£249 on food and drink for consumption at home, while another 36% are budgeting to stay under the £100 mark.

36% of UK consumers say that will be spending anything between £100 and £249 on gifts for friends and family, while 30% intend to spend between £250 and £499.

The YouGov/ Bloomberg Household Economic Activity Tracker (H.E.A.T) has also revealed that consumers are currently unwilling to loosen the purse strings for ‘big ticket’ items. When asked, ‘Compared to one month ago [September], is now [October] generally a worse time or a better time to make major purchases?’, 37% of YouGov respondents said that they were in a worse position with only 6% saying that they were in a better position.

Commenting on the findings of the report, James McCoy, Research Director for YouGov SixthSense, said: “Many companies have pre-empted consumer reluctance to indulge in major purchases; Sony’s promise to return VAT on products bought before Christmas Eve is one such example. With a VAT hike coming in January, manufacturers essentially feel that it is now or never — extra effort must be made to encourage customers to buy big before prices are affected.”