What Mobile
November 27, 2018

  • Nationwide spending on children’s presents has increased by £2.68bn in a generation – the equivalent of £204m considering inflation*
  • The average Brit will spend £119.45 per child on presents this Christmas – 73% more than what their parents spent on them!
  • Young families are twice as likely to already be saving for Christmas now than 10 years ago
  • Half (47%) believe their children ask for more presents than they did at their age – games consoles (38%) and mobile phones (35%) top Xmas wish lists
  • Dads most likely to benefit from children’s presents – UK kids set to spend £27.4m more on presents for Dad than Mum!
  • Two-thirds (63%) of children under 10 years old still believe in Santa – one in ten (9%) contact Santa on social media rather than writing a letter

Generous Brits are set to embark on a festive spending bonanza over the next six weeks, according to figures released today.

The findings released today by, the leading savings site, show that Brits are set to spend £203.98m more on children’s Christmas presents than their parents did a generation ago, considering inflation*. The survey of over 2,000 people across the country discovered that the average parent will spend £119.45 per child on Christmas presents this year, an increase of £50.21 on what their own parents spent on them – meaning the cost of Christmas has increased by £2.68bn (73%) in a generation!

Half (47%) of parents believe that their children ask for more presents than they did at their age and the research has revealed just how the expense of Christmas has increased for the average modern family as a result of meeting these greater expectations.

With a quarter (23%) of parents spending over £200 on Christmas presents per child, compared to just 6% a generation ago, the research has highlighted the financial pressures that families are now under to provide a special Christmas for their kids. This is particularly true for parents under the age of 35, with three out of five (59%) admitting they’re saving money for Christmas by mid-November in contrast to just a third (33%) at the same time a decade ago.

Children’s wish list

With so much money being spent, it’s important that parents are invested in what they’re purchasing. Despite this, a third (37%) admit they buy Christmas gifts without knowing if their children would actually want them and a quarter (28%) confess they’ve been guilty of buying rubbish presents because they left it too late to go shopping.

This is perhaps best explained in the huge shift in priorities between what children are looking for now compared to when parents were anxiously looking under the Christmas tree. Indeed, two out of five (38%) children now want to find a games console in their stocking, while a third also ask for a mobile phone (35%) and an iPad or iPod (32%).

Most popular presents for children** now



Games consoles


Mobile phone






The research has revealed the different demands that children had a generation ago, leading three out of ten (30%) parents to admit their children can be ungrateful at Christmas time. Indeed, it was simple board games (35%) and books (30%) that topped their own wish lists alongside toys rather than a games console (10%) or mobile phone (8%).

Parents’ wish list

It must not be forgotten that Christmas is also a time for children to treat their parents with gifts too. The average child under 10 years old will “spend” a total of £26.71 on Mum and Dad for Christmas, with chocolates (44%), perfume/aftershave (28%) and clothing (25%) being the most popular presents. In contrast, once we reach 18 years old, the average adult spends £56.40 on Christmas presents for their parents.

While Dads are eyeing clothes (30%) and entertainment in the form of music or films (25%) this Christmas, the research has found it is the thought that counts for Mums. Four out of five (81%) would rather receive less expensive, more thoughtful presents. Although the majority (54%) of Mums would prefer handmade gifts from their kids than those bought from a store, only a third (31%) of children under the age of 10 choose handmade gifts.

Most popular presents from children** for their parents



Handmade gift








With Mums far more likely to receive handmade gifts, the research has revealed that, overall, the nation spends an average of 12% more on gifts bought for Dads (£21.75) than presents for Mums (£19.43). Overall, this is the equivalent of £27.4m more being spent on presents for Dads across the nation than Mums.

Embracing the festive spirit

The full-blown festive season is on the horizon and fast approaching. Indeed, the research has indicated almost half (45%) of Brits are already feeling in the Christmas spirit now that the lights have started to be switched on across the country. Meanwhile, three out of ten (30%) young adults have been embracing Christmas the moment Halloween and Bonfire Night were over.

The enthusiasm of children can make even the most festive adult look like a Grinch at Christmas. The research has found that two-thirds (63%) of children under the age of 10 believe in Santa, with the majority looking forward to leaving mince pies and milk for him (56%) and a carrot for Rudolph (55%). Half (54%) will be writing a letter to Santa, detailing why they’ve been good this year and what they’d like to find under the tree this Christmas, while one in ten (9%) will instead be contacting Santa on social media.


Children** celebrating Christmas

Believe in Santa


Leave mince pies and milk for Santa


Leave carrots for Rudolph


Write a letter for Santa


Visit Santa’s grotto


Anita Naik, Lifestyle Editor at, said: “It is heart-warming that the spirit of goodwill is still alive and well and Brits intend to be so generous this Christmas. The massive increase in spending on Christmas presents in a single generation does however place people, particularly young families, under financial pressure.

We would encourage people to shop around for the best deal before buying the ‘must have’ gift they’re after for that special someone. Whilst celebrating the festive season, be mindful of spending – try to stick to a budget and to focus on quality rather than quantity to prevent both the number of presents and the cost snowballing out of control each year! Compare prices across different stores online before you shop, and always check for a discount code before you hit the checkout.”

About the Author

Share this article