STAFF REPORTER FAMILIES in the Balearics spent 13.8 percent less this Christmas than they did during the same period in 2009, the Gadeso social and economic research foundation reported yesterday.

An average spend of 765 euros per family last year has dropped to 660 euros during Christmas 2010, the foundation confirmed.
It emerged in the Gadeso report that families cut back the most this season on entertainment and leisure, by a massive 25 percent. The figure, says the foundation, reflects not just reductions in the seasonal spend, but also the fact that many people have decided not to go away on holiday or to take their chances on the Christmas lottery.

Significantly, spending on clothes and accessories, traditionally high at Christmas, was down by 16.3 percent in comparison with last year. Amounts that families spent on food and presents for children slumped by 6.6 and 5.6 percent respectively.

Surveys carried out by Gadeso on the average family spend suggested that of the 660 euros allocated to Christmas this year, 170 would go on gift buying, 155 euros on food, 67 on clothes and accessories and 75 on leisure and entertainment.

Gadeso pointed out that Christmas spending had been predicted to have been higher in the Balearics than it was in the rest of the country.
This year, said the foundation, is the third consecutive occasion on which Christmas spending has declined. Gadeso said the downward trend is inextricably linked to the development of the economic crisis.

But the foundation said that not everyone was similarly affected by the crisis. The economic situation of each family determined the level at which spending had to be restricted, Gadeso furthered.

Its survey showed that those families belonging to what it described as “upper class” (big businessmen, financial experts, stocks and shareholders, etcetera) were forecast to increase their seasonal spending to an average of 1'425 euros, whilst middle class families were expected to settle for 1'100 euros.

For more than 37 percent of interviewees, said Gadeso, Christmas meant “spending a few days with the family” but only 8.9 percent said that the season had particular religious significance for them.

Overall conclusions reached by the foundation pointed to a time of year which is becoming increasingly secularised and hallmarked by consumerism.