Almost 70% of people in Ireland plan to do less or no indoor socialising this Christmas and will prioritise family over friends and work colleagues- Core Research

  • People have no intention of ‘cancelling Christmas’ and instead plan to adapt expectations and behaviours while maintaining the festive spirit
  • 67% planning to meet with family outside of their household this Christmas while a proportion plan to socialise over Zoom
  • Irish adults plan to spend €1,350 on Christmas 2020 with 62% plan to shop less in-store or not at all when they reopen

68% of people in Ireland plan to do less or no socialising this Christmas, according to new research from Core, Ireland’s largest marketing communications company, and most say they plan to prioritise family over friends and work colleagues.

The research looks at the impact Covid-19 will have on Christmas, focusing on public and consumer sentiment towards the unfolding situation, adaption of shopping plans and where and how much people will spend this Christmas. The report is based on fieldwork conducted as Budget 2021 was being announced and the Government and public health authorities were finalising a return to tighter restrictions. The results are based on the views of 1,000 participants.

The research showed that while that there are increased levels of public concern (65%) about Covid-19, people have no intention of ‘cancelling Christmas’, with the majority of the public (67%) saying they will meet with family (outside of their household) this Christmas. However, 46% say they will not meet friends and 70% say they will not meet work colleagues.

When it comes to young adults, the cohort most likely to socialise at Christmas, 66% said they would attend less or no indoor social events this year, and only 15% said they would like to have people over to their homes. While there is a proportion of the population who are hoping that home visits will permit socialising indoors at Christmas, there are also groups who plan to return to Zoom screens and outdoor settings (12%) to socialise with close friends and family.

The research shows that we plan to spend on Christmas this year, as we have done in the past, with the average Christmas budget per person estimated to be €1,350. The largest proportions are expected to go towards gifts for friends and family (€208) and the big grocery spend (ex. alcohol – €194). Older Families (households with teenagers) have budgeted 40% more than the average, with plans to spend €1,896 this Christmas, while young adults (under 40s with no children) plan to spend €1,117 on their Christmas spend.

While the total Christmas budget for all Irish adults across Ireland is estimated to be €4.3 billion, with retail outlets closed for six weeks the challenge will be to guide people to click and collect or online delivery services during this period. 62% plan to shop less in-store or not at all when they reopen, and 67% say they plan to shop online more or the same as last year. As a result of this dual –channel purchasing behaviour, it is estimated that 45% of purchases will be made in physical stores, 27% will be a mixture of online and offline, and 28% will be ecommerce purchases.

Given Level 5 restrictions, much of the 27% of the ‘on and offline’ mix may convert into ecommerce, and within ecommerce, there is a division of intent to spend local and beyond. 16% of customers intend to shop on Irish based online retailers, but 12% say they will shop on foreign based sites.

Anne Zahan, Strategy Director at Core, said: “This research reinforces the fact that as with all celebrations that occurred over the course of COVID-19 (birthdays, marriages, births, graduations, etc.), Christmas too will be scaled back to its simplest form this year. Brands should therefore acknowledge the renewed sense of importance we have put on our loved ones, and show that there are people – with the same values we have – behind the brand.” 

Core employs a team of 310 people and consists of nine practices – Creative, Data, Investment, Learning, Media (comprising of Mediaworks, Spark Foundry, Starcom and Zenith), Recruitment, Research, Sponsorship and Strategy. Core has been voted Agency Network of the Year for the last six years at the Media Awards and the company was also recently voted one of the top workplaces in Ireland by the Great Place to Work Institute for the tenth year running.

To view the full findings of the Core Research report please visit