Christmas, Confcommercio: consumption on the rise, but bills and inflation weigh heavily on gifts

The analysis on thirteenth and December consumptions certifies that the last month of the year is the most important for expenses. The figure for Christmas gifts will be around 160 euros per capita. Average spending per family in December stood at 1,645 euros, 0.5% more than last year, but still far below 2019 (-7.5%). The positive change in 2021 is compressed by the additional net cost of bills

December is confirmed as the most important month of the year for consumption. To certify it is the analysis of the Confcommercio Research Department on thirteenth and December consumption. But this year, the climate of declining household confidence, the sharp recovery in inflation and the rise in bills risk reducing the share of thirteenth traditionally devoted to spending on Christmas gifts. This year it will be confirmed at around 160 euros per capita, in line with last year. However, also considering the consumption of those who do not benefit from it, i.e. the self-employed area, the average expenditure per family in December – including rents, bills and utilities – stood at 1,645 euros, 0.5% more than the previous year. last year, but still far below 2019 (-7.5%).

Consumption in December

For the month of December it is estimated a value of approximately 110 billion euros in consumption expenses (including rents, utilities, services, etc.), approximately 10 billion less than what was spent in 2019. For the marketable expenses of goods and services, such as food, clothing, furniture, appliances and computers, books, shows, toys, the estimate is 76 billion. By 2020, this expenditure had dropped to around 66 billion euros. But even in 2020, December was the most important period from the point of view of consumption, despite the many limitations during the holiday period. Some economic concerns emerge this year. In November, the climate of household confidence, while remaining at historically high levels, fell back for the second consecutive month. The deterioration is largely correlated to the re-emergence of inflation which, for the unexpected part (the one exceeding 1.5% -2%), could compress the purchasing power of households, leading to a contraction in goods and services. marketable.

The thirteenths of 2021

This year the total amount of the net thirteenths amounted to 43.8 billion euros. Between employees (about 19.3 million) and pensioners (just over 16 million) the number of beneficiaries on the whole is close to 35.4 million, which is equivalent to about 19.5 million families who receive this additional salary. For 2021, the amount of the thirteenths destined for consumption amounts to 32.6 billion, up by 0.5% compared to 2020, but still 7.5% lower than in 2019. Families also maintain an inspired attitude in 2021 prudence regarding purchase intentions, as a consequence of the protracted emergency of the pandemic. Furthermore, the positive change is compressed by the net additional cost of bills which, despite the important public support, would weigh in total around 2.3 billion euros for the families of employees, retirees and the self-employed.

Shopping for Christmas gifts

According to a survey carried out by Format for Confcommercio, this year for Christmas gifts 158 euros will be spent per capita compared to 164 last year, -8% compared to 2019 and over 36% less than in 2009. This a total of 6.9 billion will be spent on gifts compared to 7.4 billion last year. The results confirm the current climate of uncertainty due to the persistence of the pandemic and the generalized price increases.

With the pandemic, household savings increase

One of the most striking financial effects – but perfectly logical – of the pandemic was that of considerably increasing the amount of current account deposits (bank and post office), also known as sight savings. During 2020, they went from just under € 1,020 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019 to over € 1,120 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020, an increase of € 100 billion. The race did not stop in 2021: in the first six months of the current year, liquid assets held by families increased by a further 40 billion euros, reaching 1,160 billion. The propensity to save could be motivated by voluntary reasons, linked to the uncertainty of the emergency situation. However, the first part of 2021 saw a clear recovery in household consumption, also due to an expected recovery compared to the difficult months of the lockdown and the first two waves. But unexpected inflation – the part exceeding 1.5-2% – would lead in the short term to a reduction in the purchasing power of this mass of liquidity not protected by the increase in prices, with inevitable repercussions on consumption and, therefore, , on the current recovery.