CHRISTMAS is a costly business, but also a profitable one for the province’s businesses, worth an estimated €700 million as forecasts predict it will be the best one since the crisis began.
Investment in Christmas is expected this year to return to levels similar to 2008, when a third of all Alicantinos were spending between €500-1,000. According to a study by the Association of Consumers and Users, spending this year is expected to be an average of €682 per person taking into account gifts, food, travel and leisure.
Francisco Rovira, secretary general of the Alicante Association of Small and Medium Businesses, said the trend is improving: “The consumer is spending more confidently, except those who are unemployed or on salaries under €600.”
The Association represents more than 26,000 businesses which in turn are increasing jobs and offering more employment for the festive period with around 15,000 new posts in the province this year, 14 per cent more than last year: “We have had very weak Christmas periods since 2008. Last season a slow recovery began with a sales increase between 5-10 per cent and this year we expect another 5 per cent increase,” added Rovira.
Sales have also been brought forward with more purchases in November thanks to trade deals such as Black Friday and online sales have also increased and offered more sales opportunities to retailers.
But what do locals think of this spending predictions? Are expats spending more or less than this forecast? The Euro Weekly News hit the streets to find out and whilst many were initially shocked at the high figure, when they actually sat and worked it out, they probably weren’t far off this figure themselves as many were paying for flights back to the UK.
“A few years ago I cut back on my Christmas spending,” said Susan in La Marina, “but now I have three grandchildren so the spending has increased again as I admit I do like spoiling them at Christmas and I think you always indulge in a little extra Christmas treats to keep the cupboards full.”
Pat, a charity volunteer thought €682 was a silly amount to spend, but with giving her children money and taking her own break a few days after Christmas, the money soon mounts up: “I gave my children money for Christmas in the summer so I guess it has spread the cost out.”
Fellow charity worker Shirley admitted that with her flights back to the UK for the festive period, she would be spending more than €682. With everyone having their own extra spends during December, Pat and Shirley were pleased to admit though that people do become more generous, with the DEBRA charity shop where they work receiving extra donations and support at Christmas.