Although Christmas is still weeks away, Christmas decorations are filling shopping malls and supermarkets and by all accounts salespeople can look forward to high profits. With confidence in the economy growing, Czechs are ready to go on a spending spree.
Surveys by polling agencies indicate that Czechs are planning to spend more money on Christmas this year than they have for several years in a row. The reasons behind people’s new-found optimism are several: unemployment has dropped, the price of some goods is expected to go down as of January due to the introduction of a third, 10 percent VAT rate, amendments to the law will bring more money to families with two or more children and all public employees will get a 3 percent pay rise as of November of this year.
The difference to family budgets will amount to several hundred crowns but it is an important signal to people that the economy can afford it and the combination of several encouraging factors is expected to boost consumer spending, according to the internet news site Novinky.cz.
The number of Czechs whose confidence in the economy has grown has now reached 30 percent, double the figure two years ago, and for the first time the number of optimists has surpassed those who retain a gloomy outlook.
According to a poll conducted by GE Money Bank Czechs are preparing to spend on average 6,000 crowns on Christmas gifts this year and another 3,000 on food and decorations. A quarter of respondents said they would spend between 5 and 10 thousand crowns on Christmas and one in ten said they would be spending 10,000 or over on gifts alone. The polling agency STEM/Mark also says that the number of people preparing to spend between 10 and 15 thousand crowns on Christmas is growing.
Seventy percent of the money spent will go on gifts for children. A third of parents say their children will get whatever they ask for, two thirds of respondents said they would fulfill their children’s requests at least in part. Electronic toys, mobiles and computers are expected to be Christmas hits for children and teenagers while clothing, cosmetics and wellness gifts will top the list for adults. 48 percent of shoppers will wait for the last minute Christmas sales, while six percent will give each other shopping vouchers or money to spend in the New Year sales.
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