Bargain reports and analytics

Christmas Shopping Craze

PicodiDecember 10, 2018

How Emiratis prepare for Christmas

Christmas time is not just family reunions and decorating the Christmas tree. The last few weeks of the year are also a big burden on our home budget since we have to accommodate additional expenses, such as Christmas gifts, food and sometimes even elegant outfits.

Picodi Analysis Team decided to find out what Christmas expenses look like, what gifts Emiratis usually buy and how much it costs to put food on the Christmas table. From our report you will also learn what kind of gifts are the most desirable ones and which are a bad idea.

What kind of gifts Emiratis buy for Christmas

During Christmas we want to make our family and friends happy. 52% of respondents buy presents for their relatives. For 57% it’s a good opportunity to give their friends a gift. However, our survey results show that only 23% of Emiratis decide to buy gifts for their colleagues. And 9% of respondents declare that they help charities or make Christmas donations, e.g. a food drive.

What gifts do we usually buy? According to our respondents, the most popular categories are sweets (40%), toys (27%), perfumes (27%), clothes (20%) and accessories (19%).

An interesting fact is that most Emiratis (53%) leave Christmas gifts until the last moment—December. Christmas ornaments in shopping malls and special sales like the famous Black Friday ones manage to convince only one third of Emiratis to buy Christmas gifts earlier, in November. Only 15% shop for gifts in advance (7% in September and October and 8% before September).

When choosing Christmas gifts most Emiratis try to find out what the receiver would like to get (47%). Fewer people ask directly (27%) and 26% buy gifts on a hunch.

As the survey results show, the most desirable gifts of 2018 are sweets (36%), electronics (26%), money (26%) and gift cards (21%). What may come as a surprise though, is that sweets (32%) and gift cards (20%) were also voted the least desirable gifts to receive together with toys (24%) and alcohol (22%) . We spend 605 AED on average on gifts.

How much Emiratis spend on Christmas food

Most Emiratis (67%) spend Christmas at home. 1 out of 5 Emiratis visits their friends and 12% go abroad for Christmas.

Emiratis still buy Christmas food the traditional way: 35% shop in brick and mortar stores and markets. 22% place their orders online and the remaining 43% use both options when shopping. An average Emirati spends 638 AED on Christmas food.

Emiratis' Christmas outfits

Is Christmas a reason to wear spick-and-span clothes? 43% of our respondents declare that they do not need new clothes and prefer those they already have in their closet. 1 out of 3 Emiratis says that they buy brand new clothes and 26% content themselves with new accessories like jewellery or ties.

How much people spend during Christmas all over the world

1608 AED is spent on average in the United Arab Emirates during Christmas. Most of the money is spent on food (40%), gifts make 38% of that sum and Christmas outfits—23%.

We conducted the survey in other places as well and prepared a comparison of Christmas expenses in 34 countries in Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and Australia where Christmas or its equivalent is celebrated over a similar time period.

The UAE placed 9th on our list with 1608 AED which converted into dollars amounts to $438. Czechs are leading with $527 spent on gifts, food and clothes. For comparison, an average German spends only $286 and people from the UK around $500.


We conducted the surveys in early December 2018 among more than 13,000 people from Europe, Asia, America, Africa and Australia in countries where Christmas or its equivalent is celebrated during the winter period. In the UAE, 211 people took part in the survey. For currency conversion we used the average exchange rate for November 2018.

Public Use

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