Many set to spend less this Christmas due to COVID crisis

Many people across South Tyneside say they will be spending less this Christmas compared to last year as the coronavirus pandemic continues to see people worry about their personal finances.

Gazette readers have been saying how COVID has impacted on their lives in our Big Conversation survey.
Gazette readers have been saying how COVID has impacted on their lives in our Big Conversation survey.

Those are some of the findings that emerged from our recent Big Conversation survey as we asked Gazette readers how COVID-19 had affected their lives.

We asked people if they agreed with the statement: “I expect to spend as much or more on Christmas this year compared to last year.”

And almost four in ten of respondents (39.3%) said they disagreed with the sentiment. By contrast, 33.5% said they would be spending more over the festive season.

Despite that, Gazette readers are still determined to make the most of Christmas.

Asked if “it’s important to really make an effort with Christmas this year,” 58.5% were in agreement with the message.

And when asked if “the Christmas period will be a good opportunity to support local businesses,” 72.7% agreed it was.

Of those who took part in the Big Conversation survey, 45.8% said they were in work, 39.6% said they were not working and 1.15% said they were on furlough, with the remainder choosing not to say what their circumstances were.

When asked about job security, 15.4% said they were ‘very concerned’ while 16.1% said they were ‘concerned’. By contrast, 37.7% said they were either not or not at all concerned about their employment.

However, the figures were slightly higher when people were asked about their personal finances.

32.3% said they were ‘very concerned’ and a further 14.6% said they were ‘very concerned’. That compared with 41.9% who said they were either not or not at all concerned.

Our survey also asked people what actions they had personally taken since the pandemic began.

56.5% of those who replied said they had cut back on their spending, while 41.9% said they were supporting local businesses more.

The Big Conversation survey was created by JPI Media, publisher of newspapers and websites across the UK, and it has looked at a range of issues surrounding the pandemic, including changes to personal lives, travel habits, health, employment, local life and fears and hopes for the post-pandemic world.

Nationally, over half of respondents have become more thrifty since the pandemic began, with 54.87% saying they’ve cut back on spending.

At the time of the survey, 54.56 per cent of respondents nationally said they were currently in paid work, followed by 33.93 per cent who aren’t. Just 3.19 per cent of respondents were on furlough.

Job security or income was a worry for some, with 34.45 per cent of respondents saying they were “concerned” or “very concerned” about their job security or income, while 46.06 per cent said they were “concerned” or “very concerned” about their personal or household finances.

We will report on more of the findings from our Big Conversation Survey next week.