Which personality type is likely to spend more during the festive season?

'Tis the season to analyse spending habits, and new light has been thrown on retail therapy

23 December 2018 - 00:01 By CLAIRE KEETON


Do you have a calm personality? If you do you're more likely to spend your hard-earned cash this festive season.
"Emotionally stable people spend more during the holiday season, and people who are nervous and have a lower stress threshold spend less," says a study of more than 2,000 people published in September by researchers in the US and the UK.
The study, "Who are the Scrooges? Personality Predictors of Holiday Spending", found that shopping habits vary between personality types.
One of the lead authors of the study, Sara Weston of Northwestern University in Chicago, said: "We've known for a while that personality is related to what we call 'broad outcomes': how much money you make or how happy you are or how long you live, but we know less about why personality is related to those things."
The researchers analysed more than 2-million individual financial transactions in trying to find correlations between holiday season spending and five major personality traits - openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
The researchers concluded that conscientious, emotionally stable people spent more during the festive period than their more neurotic peers.
Another lead author on the study, Joe Gladstone of the University College of London, said the findings helped in understanding how people's personalities shaped their spending.
"This may help us to tackle some of the urgent social problems we face, from increasing personal debt levels to excessive materialism, both of which are found to negatively impact happiness."
The researchers suggested one factor in the personality-spending equation might be that neurotic types worried more about buying the perfect present and disappointing friends and family.
South Africans will splurge as usual over the holidays, spending roughly a third of their monthly income on average, according to a survey by short-term lender Wonga SA.
According to the survey of nearly 7,000 people, spending in SA over the holiday season is set to exceed R200bn this year.
People aged between 18 and 65 planned to spend an average of R5,700, Wonga said. The major items included: Food and drink at R2,174, with 71% of respondents saying their Christmas meal would be a braai;
Travel at R1,633; and
Gifts at R1,232 - about a quarter of the amount will be spent on friends, the rest on family members. "This is more than a third of the average South African's take-home pay, according to Bankserv Africa's latest index," said Taryn Schmidt, the chief marketing officer at Wonga SA.
About half of the respondents relied on a 13th cheque or end-of-year bonus to cover festive costs.
About a quarter said their stokvel contributions helped them to meet their December bills, and 37% said they saved all year for the big blow-out. Less than a fifth (18%) borrowed money to cover their festive costs.
The majority of South Africans surveyed said they would visit family and friends over the holiday - with Durban the most popular destination (18%) followed by Cape Town (11%). A majority planned to go by car or bus.
More than one-third said that work duties were among the reasons they could not leave home, and a slightly smaller proportion said they could not afford to go away.
The Deloitte 2018 holiday survey of consumers in the US shows that about one-third of their spending in the period would be on gifts.
On average, US shoppers were expected to spend $1,536 (about R22,000) per household during the 2018 festive season, and retail sales were forecast to rise about 5% from last year, the Deloitte survey said. Sales in this period account for more than a quarter of the total for the year.
Deloitte said Americans would spend 40% of their holiday budgets on entertainment, socialising and travel, and the average number of gifts or gift cards each planned to buy was 16.
Unlike in SA - where only about 12% of consumers went online to make holiday season purchases - in the US the proportion would be nearly 60%.
Internet shopping is still on the rise in the US, with promotions including discounts, free shipping and free gifts influencing choices.
Two out of three shoppers combine their digital purchasing with going to physical shops. The same proportion are willing to pay extra for items that respect the environment, which is a trend among younger shoppers - and a gift to the planet.

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