Christmas shopping: Grandparents set to spend £104 per grandchild


Pandemic presents: Grandparents plan to splash out £104 on each grandchild this Christmas, up nearly a third on last year

  • Grandparents have four grandchildren on average, so that could be £416 in total
  • Half of parents think grandparents spend about the right amount
  • But many believe they splash out too much on grandchildren 

Grandparents are planning a generous Christmas spree, spending nearly a third more on presents for grandchildren after a dismal year dominated by the pandemic.

They will blow £104 on average on each grandchild this year, £23 more than in 2019, in a sign people are eager to splash out and bring some festive cheer despite whatever pandemic restrictions might be in place over the holiday.

On average, grandparents have four grandchildren, so they could spend £416 or an estimated £2.4billion in total, according to the research from insurer SunLife.

Christmas plans: Grandparents are planning to splash out  28 per cent more than last year on gifts for their grandchildren

The findings counter fears of a poor festive season for retailers, as at least some rules curbing usual activities are likely to be in force, and many people are suffering hardship after being made redundant or furloughed.

But some grandparents will be retired and on a more fixed income, so could have more leeway to spend on their families this Christmas, although those who are drawing down an income from investments will have had a rockier time in volatile market conditions. 

SunLife found that 50 per cent of parents thought the amount grandparents spend at Christmas is about right, slightly more than the 46 per cent who felt they dropped too much on presents.

Just 3 per cent said grandparents didn’t spend enough, and 1 per cent didn’t know.

However, among those parents who thought grandparents were overdoing it, 59 per cent took the line that ‘it’s their money, they can do what they like’, while 27 per cent feared they were spoiling grandchildren and 14 per cent that couldn’t really afford it.

The insurer also surveyed children and found 54 per cent always get good Christmas presents from their grandparents.

However, 46 per cent have received a ‘bad gift’ from them, and 5 per cent have never had a good one – citing examples like plain paper, shower gel and a jumper.

SunLife asked children aged 8 to 16 what type of gifts they most liked, and heard that younger children prefer receiving presents while older ones would rather have cash.

It also surveyed children about what presents they wanted, and top requests were Disney, LEGO, L.O.L Surprise, Fortnite and Minecraft toys and games.

‘We know it can be tricky for grandparents to know what to get their grandchildren, and they often don’t want to ask as that would spoil the surprise,’ says Ian Atkinson, marketing director at Sunlife. ‘So we have done the asking for them.’

‘Clothes are also high on the list while for those with bigger budgets, electronic gifts and gadgets like phones and tablets will go down well, as well as bigger outdoor toys like bikes and scooters.’

SunLife surveyed 2,000 adults who were representative of the UK geographically and by income, and 2,000 children.

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