Aunts and uncles get ‘paw’ deal during festive period

1 December 2015

It’s a dog’s life for relatives as pets get just as much lavished on them at Christmas.

New research shows that we think as much of our furry friends as we do our aunts and uncles – at least during the festive period. The survey1, from Nationwide Credit Cards, reveals that UK adults spend around the same amount on Christmas presents for their pets (£12.04) as they do on their aunts and uncles (£12.16).

Christmas family tree

Brits are spending more on their family overall at Christmas than they did two years ago when Nationwide last conducted similar research. Back in 2013, on average, people spent £271.65 on the family, including pets. Yet, in 2015, spending has risen by seven per cent to at least £289.75. While children account for more than half of the money spent over the festive period, spouses and partners receive to a third (33 per cent) of people’s Christmas expenditure, down from 35 per cent two years ago.

Average individual spend per family member2
Family member Amount spent (2015) Amount spent (2013)
Child(ren) £143.85 £136.20
Spouse/Partner £95.18 £93.79
Mum/Stepmum £37.36 £35.05
Dad/Stepdad £31.56 £28.88
Sibling(s) £27.89 £26.16
In-laws £25.44 £24.79
Grandparent(s) £18.58 £15.94
Aunt(s)/Uncle(s) £12.16 £10.62
Pet(s) £12.04 £10.49

Cheap or expensive?

When it comes to choosing that perfect Christmas gift for the spouse or partner, Nationwide’s survey shows nearly half (48 per cent) of respondents spend £50 or more, while three in ten (30 per cent) admit to paying £100 or more. However, this is in stark contrast to their parents, where only 15 per cent will spend £50 or more on their mum or stepmum. Dads and stepdads fall even further down the priority list with only 11 per cent saying they would spend £50 or more on their gifts.

Female generosity

Women are likely to spend more on family at Christmas than men with an average of £296.07 being paid out by women compared to £282.71 by men. When it comes to individual family members, women still spend more than men on the children (average of £153.88 versus £131.47). However, when it comes to each other, men will spend around 13 per cent more on their spouse or partner than women, because while men with a partner will spend £100.67 for Christmas, women with a partner will only spend £89.23.

John Crossley, Nationwide’s Head of Credit Cards and Personal Loans, comments: “As we edge closer to the festive period, thoughts are beginning to turn to what to get the loved ones for Christmas.

“Buying Christmas presents for the entire family, including the family pet doesn’t necessarily need to break the bank. Zero per cent purchase and balance transfer deals on credit cards can offer a viable way for people to ensure they have a very merry Christmas, but ensure the cost is spread out in a financially manageable way. And, if the card comes with a cashback offer, it could also help to offset some of that pre-Christmas expenditure.”

Prezzie or no prezzie

Christmas doesn’t automatically equate to expenditure for everyone. In fact, Nationwide’s research shows that some will spend nothing on their family members for Christmas. One in twenty respondents (five per cent) admit they will spend nothing on their children for Christmas with six per cent of people saying their spouse or partner will get nothing. Parents may also be at risk from the Christmas cut-back this year with seven per cent of mums and stepmums and 10 per cent of dads and stepdads receiving nothing for Christmas.

Family member % of people who won’t spend any money on a gift for:
Child(ren) 5%
Spouse/Partner 6%
Mum/Stepmum 7%
Dad/Stepdad 10%
In-laws 19%
Grandparent(s) 19%
Sibling(s) 21%
Pet(s) 26%
Aunt(s)/Uncle(s) 38%

About Nationwide

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

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