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Father Christmas shops online

GfK analyzes Christmas trade 2011

(PresseBox) (Nuremburg, ) Books, clothes and toys are the bestselling Christmas presents. Around 92% of Germans plan to spend an average of EUR 241 on Christmas presents this year, which is almost as much as in 2010. According to a current GfK study, retailers can expect sales volumes of EUR 13.7 billion for Christmas presents and shoppers intend to make online purchases significantly more often than last year.

With an average amount of EUR 241 set aside for Christmas presents, just EUR 4 lower than in the previous year, there will still be plenty of gifts under the tree in 2011. Retailers are to expect a sales volume of EUR 13.7 billion, which is a drop of 2%. This decrease will be partially compensated for by a rise in cash presents. Around EUR 2.1 billion, a 4% increase year-on-year, will be given in notes or bank transfers and a significant portion of this money will find its way into retailers' cash registers in the days after the holiday.

As one might expect, the budget for Christmas presents differs greatly de-pending on age and income. While young Germans aged between 14 and 24 years plan to spend EUR 121 on average, the budget increases along with age up to EUR 303 for those aged 55 to 64. This age group in particular is aiming to make savings on the previous year and spend an average of EUR 30 less. Individuals with a monthly household income of less than EUR 1,500 intend to spend EUR 155 on average on presents, EUR 9 more than in the prior year, and those earning more than EUR 3,500 per month have lowered their budgets from EUR 366 to EUR 344. There are also differences between East and West Germany. While shoppers in the old federal states will spend an average of EUR 247, the figure for those in the new German states is EUR 219.

Books, clothes and toys are the most popular presents

Father Christmas will be once again delivering more books than anything else this year. Around 37% of Germans would like to give reading material, a drop of 3 percentage points from 2010, and they will spend an average of EUR 37, EUR 1 less than in the previous year. According to GfK's calculations, this represents a sales volume of EUR 954 million. There is no difference with regards to age groups when it comes to giving books as presents, although women will be doing so more often than men.

Taking second place on the list of most frequently bought presents are clothes and accessories, which appear on the shopping lists of more than one in three Germans (35%). A sales volume of around EUR 1.64 billion is predicted for clothing retailers. This is approximately EUR 10 million less than last year, when EUR 77 was spent on these items. The figure for this year is an average of EUR 69. The higher an individual's income is, the more likely they are to have clothing and accessories on their wish lists. Gender also has a significant influence with just 27% of men buying fashion goods in comparison with 40% of women.

The third spot in the rankings is occupied by toys, which come only marginally behind clothing and accessories with 34% of Germans intending to give them. Those aged 25 to 34 represent the largest consumer group, with more than half of this group putting toys under the tree. Average expenditure for toys has increased to EUR 74 from EUR 70 in the previous year, which results in a sales potential of around EUR 1.76 billion. Retailers can therefore look forward to an increase of around EUR 20 million in comparison with 2010.

Food and drink also make for good presents and are the fourth most popular gift items. As in the previous year, a little more than one in four Germans plan to buy these items, spending an average of EUR 35, which corresponds to sales of around EUR 631 million. From gift hampers and wine to sweets, it is above all younger people who choose these as gifts. And it is here that significant differences can be seen between East and West: while 23% of West Germans would like to give food and drinks as presents, this figure increases to 37% in the Eastern federal states.

Young shoppers like to give vouchers, while older Germans prefer cash

Around 23% of Germans intend to play it safe this year and give vouchers so the recipient can decide for themselves what they would like to buy. An average of EUR 88 is expected to be given in this way, which is a marked increase on the EUR 71 planned in 2010. Retail is anticipating total voucher sales of almost EUR 1.4 billion in value. While around 26% of 14 to 24 year-olds intend to give vouchers as Christmas presents, this percentage drops to just 20% among the 55 to 65 age group. The most popular types of vouchers are clothing, consumer electronics, subscriptions and tickets.

Next on the list of most popular gifts are cosmetics and perfumes, which are planned as gifts by 22% of Germans overall with an average spend of EUR 44. Here age makes a difference, with popularity greater among younger consumers. More Germans intend to give cosmetics and perfumes than last year and as a result the sales potential for retailers has increased from EUR 620 million to EUR 664 million this year.

Cash is fifth in the rankings of top gifts. Almost 18% of Germans are treating their nearest and dearest to cash this year, which is a 2 percentage point increase on 2010's figure. There is a very clear age distinction in this category. Cash is only planned by 5% of 14 to 24 year-olds, but this figure increases with age and one in three respondents aged between 55 and 64 will be giving cash this Christmas. However, no difference emerged with regard to gender. The average amount that is foreseen for cash gifts this year is EUR 171.

CDs and DVDs have fallen one spot in the rankings in comparison with last year and are now only eighth on the list. Overall, 17% of the population will be giving such presents, spending an average of EUR 35 which is exactly the same as in 2010. These gifts are especially popular with younger Germans but because fewer will be making purchases in this category, it is anticipated that sales will drop from EUR 430 million to EUR 423 million.

The ninth most popular gifts are subscriptions and event tickets, which around 13% of Germans intend to give, the same as last year. The amount spent is a little lower than in 2010, at EUR 76, so overall sales of EUR 660 million are expected, down from EUR 700 million.

As in 2010, number ten on the list are watches and jewelry, although the percentage has increased slightly on last year with 12% of consumers plan-ning to buy something in this segment. The sales potential has therefore risen markedly from EUR 640 million to EUR 750 million. The average amount that will be spent is EUR 88, with younger consumers in particular regarding jewelry and watches as a suitable Christmas present.

Noticeable rise in online shopping

Although, little has changed with regard to what Germans are placing under the Christmas tree in comparison with last year, there are significant differ-ences in their purchasing behavior. Ordering gifts online is becoming more and more popular, with the number of consumers who intend to make pur-chases both online and at high-street retailers rising in almost all product segments. Subscriptions and event tickets top the list and 48% of respondents intend to also buy such items online, which is an increase from 41% in 2010. Other products that are popular among online shoppers include CDs and DVDs, which 46% plan to purchase online this year, up from 38% last year. The same percentage of respondents intend to buy PC and console games online (46%), which is a huge increase of 14 percentage points year-on-year. The e-commerce share for books also noticeably increased from 34% to 41%. Around 39% intend to buy computers and notebooks online this year, while only 27% stated the same in 2010. In the software segment, the share increased from 32% to 38%. Also at 38% are planned online purchases of consumer electronics, which is a marked increased of 12 percentage points. The next spots in the e-commerce top 10 rankings are taken by the segments of toys (35%, plus 9 percentage points), games consoles (34%, plus 7 percentage points) and mobile phones and smartphones (32%, same as 2010).

The internet is not particularly popular for buying food and drink, with the percentage of respondents planning such purchases unchanged at 5%. Vouchers increased in popularity by 3 percentage points on the prior year to an online share of 15%. Cosmetics and perfumes are third to last in the rankings, at 16%, but this is an improvement in the online share of 5 per-centage points.

The survey

The "2011 Christmas presents" survey is based on a representative survey of 3,558 respondents aged between 14 and 65 in GfK's panel of individuals. The survey was conducted between October 26 and November 6, 2011.

GfK-Nürnberg e.V

The GfK Group offers the fundamental knowledge that industry, retailers, services companies and the media need to make market decisions. It delivers a comprehensive range of information and consultancy services in the three business sectors Custom Research, Retail and Technology and Media. The No. 5 market research organization worldwide operates in more than 100 countries and employs over 11,000 staff. In 2010, the GfK Group's sales amounted to EUR 1.29 billion. For further information, visit our website: Follow us on Twitter: