- Parents spend an average of £166 on each child under one year this festive season
- But over half of parents think it’s unnecessary for others to splash out on their newborn
- Almost one fifth of parents exchange gifts and spend the money on themselves
- Thirty-two per cent of parents prefer to receive a contribution to a savings account in place of material gifts
As we approach Prince George’s first Christmas, research released today from Post Office has found that babies under one year-old will receive presents and monetary gifts from their parents amounting to an average of £166 to celebrate their first Christmas – which equates to a spend of £135million across the UK.1
The study, carried out amongst 1,000 parents of children aged three and under, found that on average, parents of newborns spend around £166 on gifts to mark their child’s first Christmas. Younger parents are shown to be the biggest spenders, with 18-24 year-olds stating they’ll spend in the region of £245 on gifts alone – nearly £80 more than the national average. In addition to this, friends and family, when buying presents for other people’s children, will spend around £50 on a baby’s first Christmas.
However, it appears that many parents do not think that other people spending large amounts of money on gifts for a baby’s first Christmas is worthwhile. Over half of those questioned (52%) feel that splashing out on presents isn’t the best use of the cash and 32% would prefer to receive a contribution to a savings account instead.
Almost a fifth of parents (17%) have no problem in returning received gifts and buying an alternative. Among the responses, parents reported having returned Christmas gifts intended for their baby and bought iPads, clothes, jewellery and even towards ‘a holiday to Egypt’ for themselves.
Almost two in five (38%) parents are planning to put money aside in a savings account to mark their child’s first Christmas, with the average contribution being £98. Once again, parents in the 18-24 year-old age bracket are the most likely to contribute an amount to the child’s savings account, with 44 per cent stating they would definitely set some cash aside versus only 37% of 25-34 year-olds.
When it comes to gifts, the humble teddy bear still takes the crown as the UK’s favourite present for a baby at Christmas. More tech-focused, educational gadgets took second place in the national countdown, though were the top present of choice for men. Practical gifts including baby clothes and shoes, nursery furniture and items such as high-chairs, baby-walkers and slings dominate the shortlist.
UK top ten presents for baby’s first Christmas
Teddy bear/soft toys
Interactive or educational baby games
Baby clothes and shoes
Christmas themed costumes
Child’s nursery decorations or furniture
Slings, high-chairs, baby-walkers or baby chairs
Photo album of ‘baby’s first Christmas’
Contribution to a savings account
Luxury nappy bags, bottles, changing mats or other luxury day-to-day accessories
Jewellery, such as lockets or bracelets
Sarah Willingham, personal finance expert and consumer champion, said: “The research shows that the nation is divided when it comes to how best to celebrate a baby’s first Christmas. I know from experience as a mother of four that it’s a balancing act between feeling you are celebrating the occasion appropriately, whilst not wanting to knowingly waste money on an event the child will not remember.
“I think it’s a really positive trend that we’re seeing here of parents being practical when it comes to their child’s first Christmas. Economically, the UK is not out of the woods just yet and it makes perfect financial sense for parents to be savvy with their cash from the off. After all, what will the grown-up child remember – a mountain of long-since discarded toys or a financial contribution to their future?”
Michael Birchall from the Post Office Christmas Team, said: “At Post Office, we are always looking at ways to make our customer’s lives easier in the run up to the festive season, from helping people to send their gifts and cards to offering savings accounts for anyone wanting to provide for a child’s future.
“Everyone has different needs when it comes to babies and presents. Rather than worrying about getting it wrong, our One4All gift card allows recipients to choose whatever they think is the best present to celebrate a baby’s first festive season, whether this be a traditional teddy or something more practical such as toiletries or clothes.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1 Number of UK births in one year = 813,200 (based on ONS statistics from 30th June 2011-30th June 2012)
Average spend on one individual baby on gifts from parents £165.99 x 813,200 births = £134,983,068 (£135million)
Research was conducted with 1,000 expectant parents or parents who have given birth in the last three years by One Poll between 30 October and 5 November 2013.
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