KPMG reports cost of Christmas concerns

Consumer worries over price increases dominate the Christmas shopping season, the latest KPMG Next Gen Retail survey shows. The report also found low levels of trust in sustainability and environmental claims by brands, suggesting that ‘greenwashing’ is impacting customer buying decisions. As cost becomes a key issue, online shopping is also seeing a resurgence, particularly among younger people after a drop earlier this year.

Over three in five, 62 per cent, will reduce spending this Christmas due to having less disposable income, and 76 per cent expect the festive season to be “significantly more expensive” this year. Almost half, 47 per cent, say they will shop online more to find better deals this Christmas, while 61 per cent will reduce their spending in restaurants and pubs. Only one in four trust the environmental and sustainability claims made by brands.

Three in five consumers believe brands are not doing enough to inform the public of their environmental and sustainability credentials. Products across most categories are said to have increased in price by most consumers, notably food/groceries and utilities. Respondents who had previously cited reducing discretionary spend on social activities like dining out, are now looking at cutting back on necessities such as groceries.


Over seven in 10 consumers believe Christmas shopping will be more expensive this holiday season, naming limited disposable income and inflation as stress factors and 62 per cent say they will reduce their spending over this Christmas due to having less disposable income. KPMG says this could be a cause for concern for main street retail outlets and hospitality as 47 per cent) say they will shop online more to find better deals.

Only 13 per cent plan to use a loan or credit facility to fund their Christmas shopping as interest rates increase across the Eurozone. However, the survey found that older cohorts (those in the 55-64, and the 65+ categories) expect to spend more on Christmas shopping compared to younger consumers (those in the 18-24, 25-34 and 35-44 categories), who are more likely to have less disposable income and be more stressed due to inflation.

Only one in five consumers had difficulty finding certain items, despite warnings of decreased or limited stock because of global supply chain issues. However, four in 10 said they started their Christmas shop early out of concern of stock shortages. The survey found that consumers have a very low level of trust (26 per cent) in the environmental and sustainability claims made by brand owners – a case of more talk, than walking the walk.


Only 27 per cent are actively searching for eco-friendly products, or are willing to pay more for these (28 per cent). Notably, mid-aged cohorts place a higher importance on sustainability when it comes to products like children’s toys, while younger and older consumers do so for cleaning products and food/groceries. Notably, the sustainability credentials of alcoholic drinks were of the least importance to consumers across age groups.

After seeing a drop in online shopping once Covid-19 restrictions were lifted early this year, consumers are again opting to buy clothes (28%) and gifts (26%) online more often. Growth in online shopping for these two categories is driven by younger consumers  -49 per cent and 33 per cent respectively. Expectations are that consumers will return to buying more products online in the next year – 29 per cent – as they can get more bargains.

Only one in five say they are shown relevant products when browsing. However, very few are concerned about how their data is collected on social media and other websites when shopping online, with only one in five shopping online less due to being put off by how their data is collected. Notably, younger cohorts are less concerned about how their data is collected and the most likely to find products they see on social media relevant.


There’s a clear preference among 18-24s towards mobile payments, such as Apple or Google Pay (37 per cent), while those aged 25-34 prefer apps like Revolut. Younger consumers generally are the most likely to use Revolut to shop online: 80 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds compared with 54 per cent generally. Younger cohorts are also the most likely to use ‘vault’ functions for saving money, or invest in stocks and cryptocurrencies.

The survey found that money app usage declines with age generally. Older cohorts and those in more rural areas are least likely to use such apps and are still opting for card/cash payment methods. KPMG’s survey of consumer retail attitudes was conducted by Red C. Quotas were set on age, gender, social class and region to ensure a nationally representative sample of 1,000+ adults 18+. Fieldwork was carried out in November 2022.

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