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British parents dreaming of a low-cost Christmas

It’s already the most expensive time of the year…but parents admit they’re happy to pay 30% more on gifts for kids

  • Xmasochists: British parents projected to spend £141.7m on presents for their kids this Christmas
  • 30% More: Brits prepared to spend an average of 30% more than the recommended price for the most popular toys and gadgets this Christmas
  • A heavy load: Two-fifths of Brits overspend so much, they are forced into extreme measures such as skipping meals, saying no to school trips and cancelling holidays

New research launched today shows that parents will be dreaming of a low-cost Christmas, with 2017 set to be an expensive Christmas for present buying. Parents are expected to fork out an average of £128.80 per child on presents during the festive season according to Barclays – raising the total amount British parents will spend on Christmas presents this year to a projected £141.7m[1] across the nation.

The research of 1,000 British parents showed that the burden could in part be driven by poor financial planning, with a third (29%) admitting to leaving their Christmas shopping to the last minute. And although a third sensibly start saving for Christmas between July and September, a shocking fifth (20%) claim not to save money at all.

Revealing the pressure that parents are under at Christmas, one in three admit to dipping into their savings and overdrafts in order to finance presents, with a fifth admitting it is a big financial burden.

But the total cost may reach even greater heights according to the research, with respondents admitting they’d be happy to spend up to 30% more on sold out gifts their children wanted through reseller sites. Even more extreme, one in 10 parents said they would be prepared to spend as much as 80% more on RRP.

The most popular Xmas 2017 toys[2] and how much parents are prepared to spend on them:





Anki Cozmo Robot



Lego Boost



FurReal Roarin' Tyler



Little Tikes Princess Cozy Chariot



Luvabella Doll



FurReal Proto Max



Barbie Dreamhorse



Zoe Enchanted Unicorn



Micro Scooter Mini Deluxe



Star Wars Lego BB-8



Hatchimals Surprise



Paw Patrol Sea Patroller



NERF Modulus Regulator



Power Rangers Megazord



LOL Big Surprise Ball




Bad for your financial elf:

Revealing the pressure that parents are under at Christmas, one in three admit to dipping into their savings and overdrafts in order to finance presents, with a fifth admitting it is a big financial burden.

Showing just how pressuring many find the festive seasons, two-fifths of respondents (46%) admitted to adopting extreme measures to cut back on spending after Christmas, including skipping meals, saying no to school trips and cancelling holidays.

Clare Francis, Savings and Investments Director at Barclays, said: “Christmas is a magical time of the year for children and parents understandably want to make it as memorable as possible. However, spending more than you can afford can lead to serious problems down the line, and it’s something we – as a nation – need to get out of the habit of.

Too many of us are being moved into action by social pressures to spend huge sums of money on Christmas presents. If that sounds like you, decide to do it differently next year. Set a budget in January using something like Barclays Finance Manager to set up savings goals which can help you start contributing monthly instalments to a set pot of money and stick to your limit. If you have money to spare, then think of how you can make use of it – such as putting it into a Cash or Investment ISA, and extend the good times to later in life as well.”

Barclays Finance Manager is an online tool which can help people set savings goals and take a long-term view, and plan ahead for the financial impact of life’s ups and downs.

Barclays also offers a number of other tools that customers can use to help avoid the temptation to overspend. For example, the new ‘Your Cards’ feature on Barclays Mobile Banking allows people to set their own ATM withdrawal limits, and to switch off the ability to shop online.

[1] Based on 11 million children under 18 in the UK, as reported by the ONS

[2] Based on Christmas toy hotlists from Amazon, Argos, John Lewis, Tesco and Hamleys 2017 (all figures at RRP). These lists can be viewed at the following URL:

[3] All RRP prices sourced from on November 30

Notes to editors

Research was conducted in October 2017 by Atomik (4Media) Research, which included 1,000 parents living in the UK.

About Barclays

Barclays is a transatlantic consumer and wholesale bank with global reach, offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US.

With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs approximately 85,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website .