24th  November 2022

For immediate release – Thursday 24th November 2022



  • Women to spend £7.3 billion less this Christmas at an average of £310 per head, vs £266 by men
  • Londoners plan to spend £1.6 billion less this year at Christmas
  • The LifeSearch Health, Wealth and Happiness Index reveals women are close to breaking point, only needing cost of essentials to go up by £111 per month on average to struggle financially in the months ahead
  • Londoners will spend an average of £76 less on presents, £74 less on socialising, £68 less on Christmas experiences, £67 less on food and £49 less on decorations


Women look set to make the biggest Christmas cut-backs this year, totalling £7.3 billion (£310 per head on average vs £266 by men), reflecting the struggles of the cost-of-living crisis, according to the latest update of the LifeSearch Health, Wealth and Happiness Index


One in four (24%) women won’t be buying as many presents for their children this Christmas compared to normal years (vs just 14% of men) and almost half (46%) will be buying fewer gifts for their wider family, compared to just 33% of men.


And it’s not just the number of presents, but the price tags too as over half of women (54%) plan to spend less on gifts by an average of £85, collectively totalling £2 billion less this year, compared to men who plan to spend £1.3 billion less (an average of £66). In fact, there appears to be some relationship inequalities when it comes to the number of presents under the tree this year, as 27% of women state they will be cutting back on gifts for their partners, vs just 19% of men.


LifeSearch, the UK’s leading life insurance broker, also found that it is not just the Christmas gift budget that is being cut – one in two (48%) Brits plan to spend less on festive food and drink (consumers on average cutting spending by £52) and 38% plan to cut back spending on decorations (reducing spending on average by £41), with one in 20 (5%) saying they won’t be able to afford a Christmas tree or decorations at all this year.


Four in 10 women (43%) are planning to cut back on what they spend on Christmas experiences this year too, with women on average cutting back spending in this area to a sum of £62 (compared to 41% of men at an average sum of £55). While a similar number of women and men won’t be cutting back on socialising over the festive season this year (22% vs 24%) women will cutting back by larger sums (£65 vs £58). Furthermore, one in 10 (10%) of all Brits will be spending more than £200 less on getting out and about during the festive season. 

While many are cutting back on their Christmas spending, 7% of Brits plan to put more of the spend on credit (e.g. loans/credit cards, Klarna) and almost half (47%) will be shopping for more bargains this year, rising to 55% of women (37% of men).


Women look set to be more financially vulnerable this winter


These cutbacks come as no surprise when the LifeSearch report also found that many Brits are close to breaking point financially - the cost of essentials only need to go up by £128 per month on average for people to struggle financially in the months ahead, dropping to just £111 pm for women. In fact, it may not take long for many women to reach their financial breaking point as 71% think they will be worse off financially in the months ahead – on average women think they will be worse off by £352pm, compared to £330pm for men. Unsurprisingly, over a fifth (22%) of all women think about the impact of the cost of living on their finances multiple times a day and a further 29% say it’s on their mind "daily" (vs 15% and 21% for men respectively).


Emma Walker, Chief Marketing Officer at LifeSearch who commissioned the study said: “This winter looks set to be challenging for so many this year; aside of the stresses people face as a result of the rising cost of living, the pressures to spend over the festive period could also push many to their limits. Despite all the doom and gloom, we will all want to have an opportunity to celebrate and spend time with family and friends, but this year may be less about spending to the excess and more about value and keeping to a budget.”


Table one below shows how much Brits vs Londoners plan to cut back on different aspects of Christmas spending this year compared to normal:


Spending type

National average



















Food and drink










Total (average per head)





Total (collective in UK)

£12.5 billion

£7.3 billion

£5.2 billion

£1.6 billion


Commissioned with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) and supported by consumer insights from among 3,000 adults in the UK, the annual update of the combined LifeSearch Health, Wealth and Happiness Index reveals further falls over the last six months, with the Index reaching 79.0 at the end of the third quarter 2022 (the lowest level in the series since Q1 2021). 


The study has also found the severe consequences that many women look set to face this winter due to the cost-of-living crisis:

·        Over a half (48%) of all women (vs 43% of men) anticipate they may use the majority of their savings

·        A third (35%) of women think they will be unable to pay for energy and 73% will turn the heating off when normally it is on (compared to 68% of men)

·        35% of mothers don’t think they will be able to pay for childcare, and 63% say they will struggle to pay for things their children want/need this winter


For a full copy of the LifeSearch Health, Wealth and Happiness Report, updated for Q2 and Q3 2022, visit https://www.lifesearch.com/hwh22-part2.


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