Nearly half of Walloon and Brussels residents plan to spend less than last year on end-of-year gifts, according to the Grand Barometer survey conducted by Le Soir, RTL Info, Ipsos, VTM, and Het Laatste Nieuws. A slim majority (51%) of Flemish people plan to spend the same amount.
Generally speaking, the spending power of the relatively wealthier Dutch-speaking regions of Belgium have seen their purchasing power better protected by higher incomes, whereas the poorer French-speaking regions have been forced to cut back during the winter period.
For businesses, the spending habits of Belgian residents is especially important. The spending habits of ordinary people seem likely to decide whether this winter shopping season is an auspicious one.
The data from the survey shows a distinct conservative trend to spending this winter and a generally mixed picture to consumer spending intentions. While nearly half (47%) of Belgians say they want to spend the same amount of money on gifts for the winter holidays, just 39% of Walloons and 36% say that they will do the same. The figures are propped up by strong spending intentions from Flemish residents.
The “glass half empty” scenario shows that large numbers of people, especially in French-speaking regions, intend to curb their spending this winter.
On the flip side, this conservative spending trend is largely inflated by women. 49% of women say they plan to spend less this year, against just 39% of men. 51% of those who said they spend the same amount are men, versus 43% of women. When it comes down to the actual shop, it is possible that different members of the household will do very different things.
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Christmas spending data is a good measure for analysing the impact of the purchasing power crisis on ordinary Belgians. 62% of Belgians expect their purchasing power to fall further over the next five years.
A drop in purchasing power is cited as the number one concern for Belgians this year, who have witnessed energy bills, the food shop, and other expenses eat away at their household finances.