According to business adviser Deloitte, buying large expensive presents is going out of fashion as people prefer to spend their money on the whole Christmas experience, including booze and partying.
Deloitte lead partner, consumer business, Richard Lloyd-Owen said: 'We've witnessed 10 years of almost uninterrupted success for those retailers who have managed to ride the wave of consumer change and confidence. This year the signs are more ominous.'
A regional breakdown of figures in the Christmas Retail Survey shows that the average consumer will spend£310 on gifts this year. The Welsh will be the most generous, spending£359 on gifts, compared with East Anglians, who intend to part with just£266. People in Yorkshire will tighten their belts the most this festive season spending only£276, compared with last year's£372.
Debit cards and cash will be used for Christmas shopping by 80 per cent of the population. Although high streets or department stores are where most people will spend the bulk of their money, the web is becoming increasingly popular for purchasing and researching gifts.
Owen said the convenience culture of the internet is becoming more prevalent. 'Internet access across UK households [means] it has become increasingly easy to shop beyond the traditional local level,' he said. 'The retail sector in the UK is a tough environment and one that we predict is going to get tougher still. One thing we can say with confidence is that the next 10 years are going to be at least as eventful as the decade just passed.'