New YouGov research reveals Christmas is now celebrated more as a consumer event than a religious one
Can you hear those sleigh bells ringing? With Christmas just around the corner consumers are gearing up for another year of festive merriment. But how will people in Asia Pacific be celebrating and what is top of Santa’s gift list this year?
YouGov, as one of the world’s leading research firms, polled over 8,000 people across the APAC to find out how 2016 Christmas is shaping up.
55% of consumers will exchange gifts over Christmas
Festive season is a time for celebration with loved ones. This is reflected by respondents when asked which activities they plan on doing this Christmas. Some of the most popular responses are focused around spending time with those closest to us; catching up with friends (31%), going to a Christmas party hosted by friends/family (31%) and having a mini-Christmas dinner with friends (26%). Other popular festivities include putting up Christmas decorations (23%), hosting Christmas party at home (20%), and writing/sending greeting cards (17%).
Young people seem to have more festive fun planned that older generations. The number of 18-24 year olds planning on going to a Christmas market is more than double that of over 55s (23% and 11% respectively). Young people are also significantly more likely to be hosting/attending a Christmas party, going to see a show or going to the cinema.
But while Christmas celebrations are set to be in full swing, religion will not play a big role in the festivities. Across the region just 21% intend on going to church. However, the number of churchgoers is nearly treble the regional average in the Philippines, where 59% of those polled plan to go to church over Christmas. Church attendance is also high in Vietnam, where double the regional average (43%) intend on going to church. It is lowest in China and Thailand, where just 7% and 8% of people (respectively) plan on going to church.
55% of consumers will be exchanging gifts over the festive period, regardless of whether they celebrate Christmas or not. This is despite 52% of APAC respondents believing that Christmas has become too materialistic.
Clothes and shoes, food and drinks are the most popular Christmas gifts this year
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the giving (and receiving) of gifts. But what will people be giving this year and how will they be purchasing their presents?
When choosing gifts, 68% say the most important factor is whether the recipient will like it, trumping price, which is prioritised by only 22% of people polled.
This is echoed by consumers’ approach to festive bargains. While more than one in ten (11%) are guided by festive deals when shopping for Christmas gifts, 37% have a fixed idea of what they’re looking for but will shop around to get the best price.
Clothes and/or shoes are the most popular Christmas gift this year, with half of those polled (50%) intending to give them as a gift.
The second most popular gift is food and drink, which will be bought by approximately a third of gift-givers across the region (31-38% in each country polled). The exception is Malaysia, with only 17%.
Other gifts differ more markedly according to different markets. While DVDs are particularly popular in Australia (21% of those polled intend on purchasing them as gifts, compared with 8% regionally), smartphones look set to find their way into more stockings in China, where 27% of gift-givers will purchase one compared to 18% regionally.
In-store shopping during Christmas is still popular
Yet despite the boom in e-commerce and m-commerce, offline and in-store are still the most popular means of buying gifts. This is particularly true for food and drink (85% of those purchasing these kinds of gifts will shop in store), jewellery (76%), and toys and games (75%).
The areas where e- and m- commerce fare better are for gifts that relate to technology and/or experiences. For example, the most popular items bought via mobile phones are tickets (38% of those purchasing tickets will do so via their mobile device), virtual reality headsets (37%) and holidays/trips (34%).
The most popular items bought using tablets are blu-ray (used by 33% of those intending give blu-ray as a gift), games consoles (24%), CDs (24%), and e-readers (24%).
Gifts that are most popular to buy via a computer are holidays (chosen by 46% of those purchasing holidays), tickets (43%), and vouchers (35%).
Over 60% of Thais will be working the same hours over Christmas while 60% of Aussies won’t be working at all
Though there is lots of Christmas cheer to be had, not everyone will be taking time off to enjoy the holiday. Across the region, 39% of residents will be working the same hours as usual between 24-26 December. Aussies and Filipinos will be spending the most time relaxing; 60% and 39% of whom, respectively, won’t be working at all.
Yet all this celebration looks set to leave them exhausted as respondents most likely to take time off are also most likely to be staying home to welcome the New Year. This trend is highest in the Philippines (66%), Vietnam (45%) and Australia (44%). By contrast, Thais are most likely to be working the same hours as usual over Christmas (66%) across the region, but the second most likely to be going on vacation to welcome in the New Year (23%). The most popular plan across the region to celebrate the advent of 2017 is to celebrate over dinner with friends/family (34%).
Data was collected from research among YouGov’s panelists from 18th to 28th November 2016 and was weighted to be representative of online population. Sample size: Asia Pacific (n = 8,285; Australia: 1,106; China: 1,006; Hong Kong: 1,099; Malaysia: 1,009; Philippines: 1,020; Singapore: 1,027; Thailand: 1,011; Vietnam: 1,007)