For many people, the Christmas season is going into crisis. Rising costs are putting pressure on gift budgets. However, at least among board game fans, this shouldn't cause tears under the tree, because people in Germany spend a little more money on toys and vouchers than last year.
German citizens are tightening their belts and planning to cut gift budgets even further: 27 percent of adults want to significantly reduce their spending on gifts compared to the previous year, and another 40 percent are planning slight savings. This means that the average gift budget also drops: from 252 to 250 euros. This is the lowest value since 2014. For comparison: Before the pandemic, in 2019, citizens wanted to spend an average of 281 euros on gifts.
The consulting firm Ernst & Young has evaluated a study about planned spending on Christmas gifts. The bitter realization: The gift budget is sinking to a nine-year low. Adjusted for inflation, the auditors expect a decline in retail sales; Online business is also likely to continue to grow, which ultimately affects specialist shops twice over. And yet: Board game fans in particular can breathe a sigh of relief, because the planned budget for toys and vouchers is increasing slightly.
Every second euro rolls online
Although the pandemic has become less frightening for most people - 67 percent are not worried about visiting shopping centers and Christmas markets - pre-Christmas events in city centers can no longer attract people to city centers and shopping malls as much as before the pandemic: The pre-Christmas shopping experience in city centers is only important to 39 percent - before Corona, in 2019 - the proportion was 59 percent.
The majority of consumers have long been getting ideas for Christmas presents on the Internet: 62 percent get inspiration while surfing, only 39 percent while strolling around town.
That's why almost every second euro is now spent at online retailers: bucking the trend, the gift budget to be spent online increases from 111 to 117 euros. The online market share increases from 44 to 47 percent. The big loser is the department store or shopping center: On average, German citizens only want to spend 44 euros in these sales channels - after 53 euros in the previous year. These are the results of the study by the auditing and consulting company EY. The study is based on a representative survey of more than 1.000 adult consumers in Germany, which was carried out at the end of October / beginning of November this year.
Michael Renz, head of consumer goods and trading at EY Germany: “The pandemic has alienated many people from city centers and Christmas markets and turned them into online shoppers. In addition, many still work from home and are afraid to go to shopping centers.”
Renz attributes the continuing decline in gift budgets to the increased cost of living and the weak economic situation as well as the numerous political crises: “The rapid price increases have made life more expensive and limited financial scope - gift budgets are suffering as a result. The situation is becoming increasingly difficult for retailers. If you also take inflation into account, we have to note a massive slump in gift budgets over the past three years and significant real losses in sales.”
As always, whether the Christmas business is a success or not depends on the weather, emphasizes Renz: “What is certain is that retailers have to make an enormous effort to encourage people to spend money. More and more consumers have to turn over every euro twice. Added to this is the multitude of depressing global crises and wars - this doesn't bring much joy to many people. Retailers are likely to try to counteract this with price reductions and discount campaigns. But that affects margins and is ultimately not a sustainable model of success.”
After all: Despite the current flu season and increasing corona infections, the pandemic apparently only plays a minor role for most respondents: Currently, only just under a third of those surveyed (31 percent) say that they prefer to use the Internet to protect their health shop. A year ago the proportion was 36 percent, three years ago it was 62 percent.
Toys wanted for Christmas
And what exactly ends up in the Germans’ shopping cart? Above all, vouchers: Almost every second person (44 percent) plans to give one of these or give money away. More than a third (37 percent) want to buy food or confectionery. Close behind are toys (34 percent), clothing (32 percent) and books (30 percent).
While the budget for cash gifts and vouchers increases slightly (from 50 to 52 euros), and toys also increase from 31 to 32 euros, this year there will be significantly less money for cosmetics (decrease from 16 to 12 euros), CDs and DVDs ( from six to four euros) and computer hardware and software (from seven to four euros). Good news for booksellers: The budget for printed books remains at the same level as last year at 20 euros.
The fact that board game fans sometimes like to pull out their wallets is shown by current sales campaigns Asmodee and Ravensburger: The former publisher launched a discount campaign in downtown Essen over two days, during which bags had to be filled - the publisher offered a 50 percent discount when purchasing at least three board games. Many people take advantage of the chance to get one or two bargains on the two days of the campaign.
And Ravensburger? The second wave of Lorcana cards recently launched in specialist retailers there. Here, too, you can take a look at Essen to at least get an idea of the success of the publication. A long line formed in front of the White Rabbit games store in the university district. Many wanted Disney Lorcan-Buy tickets. The hype will probably continue. Resourceful online retailers have long since increased the prices for boosters and starter sets, often by 100 percent of the recommended retail price. People will probably still buy it because “FOMO” sets in quickly with trading card games. The fear of missing out has now also become a real sales driver in the games segment.
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