Thirteenth: a mild celebration (2004)

How will Italians spend their 13th month at the end of 2004? And above all, how will they behave when it comes to Christmas shopping? To understand how much the price alarm and the fear of impoverishment affect the Italians’ purchasing choices, Eurispes asked a sample of 1,000 citizens (stratified by gender, age group, geographical area). The prospects do not seem rosy: the largest share (37.1%) will keep the level of spending in line with the previous year, 22.2% will spend less, and 26.6% have not yet decided. The smallest percentage, 14.1%, says it will spend more than last year. These first data confirm the weakness in the consumption of Italian families that does not seem to shake even with the advent of Christmas. Concerning the geographical area of residence, there is a more significant contraction in spending in the South of Italy (28.3% less), while on the Islands the intention is to spend more of the thirteenth month than the previous year (21.7% of respondents). On the other hand, in the North of Italy, people expect to spend a similar amount of their thirteenth month as last year: the percentage of those who will keep the same spending habits is the same both in the North-East and in the North-West (43,2%).

Why a party in half? Unfortunately, more than half of the interviewees (52,2%) will be forced to renounce, using their thirteenth month to pay bills, mortgages and various debts accumulated during the year. About one Italian out of four will spend the money received in the thirteenth month to buy Christmas gifts, and few will be able to book a trip (3%), organize lunches and dinners (2.2%), buy various decorations (0.2%) or allow themselves the luxury of a party at a restaurant (0.2%). On the other hand, 3.7% of respondents will act as a prudent little ant, allocating their 13th-month salary to savings as a greater guarantee for an uncertain future.

Summary Document

Thirteenth-month salary wasted? The investigation tries to understand how much the price alert and the fear of impoverishment affect the Italians’ purchasing choices and, in particular, their Christmas shopping.

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