Festive Spending Through the Years



From moon shoes to electric roller skates, our festive spending habits over the last 30 years have changed considerably.


In the 1980s, a sought after gift of choice was the Casio watch; in 2018 this gift has been upgraded to the Apple watch. In the 90s, we wanted to capture those precious moments with a Polaroid camera; now it’s a GoPro. Compared to a regular suitcase (in the 90s) fit for your upcoming travels, today we’re gifting an artificial intelligence powered suitcase.


We’ve been gifting to the people closest to us throughout history. Even today, there’s still a clear desire for gifting to our family and friends. Technological advancement is changing the way we give gifts to one another. However, with this advancement often comes with increased costs.


Vanquis Bank has analysed external data which shows that in 1988, our festive spending averaged over £17m. In 1998, ten years later, this figure reached nearly £25m, and had increased again to over £34m by 2008. Figures suggests spending could reach even higher levels this year.


In the last 30 years our spending over the festive period has nearly tripled (with a difference of over £30m in 30 years). But what exactly is behind this rapidly climbing amount?


Digital Domination


Today, our world is dominated by the digital. The digital platform has made our lives a whole lot simpler, from communication to travel. It’s also made shopping a doddle. However, at what cost?


Everything is just a touch of a button away - ordering a regrettable late-night takeaway or buying your partner that new Megaboom speaker that s/he has been dropping hints about forever. There is a simplicity and ease attached to buying (almost anything we desire) in the matter of seconds. It is always important to consider your budget when browsing potential gifts; set yourself a budget in advance and plan your gift buying. Try to restrain from impulse purchasing wherever possible.


Impact of technology


With digital now ever present, it’s apparent that not only has the way we shop for our festive gifts changed, but also what we’re actually buying too. Though in essence we’re still buying very similar things (a Megaboom Speaker now compared to 1990s Boombox, for example), has the technological advancement to these products been the catalyst for our rise in festive spending?


From the 1990s gift of Moon shoes to 2018’s electric roller skates, our desire for buying a fun gift for children is still apparent. Yet, the influence of technology is paramount. Where will this take us in 10 years’ time? Will we be spending even more on the latest digital discovery, like hover shoes, or will we go back to basics and resist this evolving trend?


The festive period is one of the most expensive times of the year. We generously spend to bring happiness and joy to those around us. With the rate of festive spending estimated to increase even more this year, is there any sign of the cost of this season slowing down? How will this figure look in 10 years’ time?


Although it’s tempting to spend large amounts on your loved ones during the festive season, it’s important to consider whether it’s financially viable in the long term. If buying gifts will place you in a difficult financial situation in January, review your gift list and think about items that are more affordable.