The majority of UAE residents will not set out a specific budget for their holiday spending this year, and will instead rely on whatever they have left after bills are paid, according to a survey conducted by yallacompare, the Middle East’s leading comparison site.
The survey, taken in November 2017, polled over 900 UAE residents on their approach to holiday spending. The results found that 57.1% would ideally like to set aside a budget for holiday shopping, but will prioritise bills and other payments above spending for the holiday season.
This lack of planning for the holiday season could mean that UAE residents are missing out on the best shopping deals ahead of Christmas. Over half (56.5%) of respondents stated that they start their holiday shopping in December, while 34.7% leave it to just two weeks before Christmas Day.
This means that just 8.8% of UAE residents begin Christmas shopping in November or earlier.
“With almost 40% of respondents buying gifts for six to 10 people, these results suggest that UAE residents could save money by taking a more proactive approach to budgeting for the holiday season. Our survey found that, of those who buy gifts for up to 10 people, more than 20% spend over AED 300 on each gift.” said Jonathan Rawling, CFO of yallacompare.
“While it’s certainly reassuring to see that the majority of UAE residents ensure bills are paid ahead of spending for the Christmas period, a lot of money could be saved by taking advantage of the pre-season sales that occur in November.”
That said, yallacompare’s survey found that many UAE residents do indeed set a budget for Christmas spending, and steadfastly stick to it. Over 26% of respondents said that they are strict with what they spend during the holiday season, while 28.5% said they have a rough idea of a budget for the period. Just 6.5% said they have no budget at all for holiday shopping, and simply spend what they need to.
Respondents also demonstrated financial restraint with their attitudes towards using credit cards around the festive period. While just under half said that they would use a credit card to purchase everything they need over Christmas, the majority (60%) of these respondents said that they will pay off any outstanding credit card bill ahead of the new year. Just 30% said that they were likely to carry some credit card debt forward into 2018.
In terms of what UAE residents spend most on during the holiday season, the vast majority said that gifts constituted most of their Christmas spending. And when it comes to buying gifts, 83.9% of survey respondents said that they do their Christmas shopping in physical retail outlets, rather than online.
Excluding gifts, 80% said that food was one of their biggest expenses over the period, while 50% said that paying for travel was one of their biggest financial obligations. On such expenses, 47% said that they would spend between AED 500 and AED 2,000 this Christmas, while 12.7% said they would spend between AED 2,000 and AED 5,000.