£2.45 billion stocking fillers

by - 20/12/2019 in Research
  • Parents plan to spend £108 on stocking fillers this Christmas
  • But half of us have had to dip into our savings to help fund Christmas

New research1 from Charter Savings Bank reveals that parents are collectively spending £2.45 billion on stocking presents for their children this Christmas, with parents splashing out an average £108 on stocking fillers during the festive season.

The growing spending on stocking fillers highlights the enduring importance of the Christmas stocking tradition – just one in nine parents (11%) say they have never given stocking presents to their youngest child. Parents say that when they were children one in six (16%) didn’t receive stocking presents.

The nationwide study shows one in three parents (34%) intend to keep giving their children Christmas stockings no matter what age they are and around one in 12 (8%) of parents admit they still receive Christmas stockings themselves. However the average age when stockings stop is 15.

The spending going into Christmas stockings is nearly half the amount for main presents as parent’s budget for around £226 for children on main presents.

Charter Savings Bank’s study shows that first-born children are the winners on Christmas morning compared with their younger siblings. Parents budget for £169 on stocking fillers and main presents for their first-born child and £163 on their second born child.

Men are more generous than women if they are buying the presents - on average they claim they’ll spend £129 on stocking presents and £250 on main presents which at £379 is 26% more than women on £301.

Despite spending £108 already on stocking fillers, a third (31%) of parents plan to spend more this Christmas. The reasons vary - for some it is because their child’s taste has become more expensive as they’ve grown (36%) while for others it is because they themselves have more money at their disposal.

For one in 10 it is because they want their children to think they have been well behaved as they still believe Father Christmas leaves their stocking.

A fifth (19%) of parents, however, are planning to cut back on stockings this Christmas, mainly because their children no longer want them (41%) although for some it is because they have less money (29%). One in seven (15%) want family Christmases to become less materialistic.

Reasons why parents increase and decrease spending on stocking presents

Parent’s reasons for increasing spending on stocking presents Percentage who agree with this

As my child(ren) has grown their taste has become more expensive


I have more money at my disposal


I want my child(ren) to have more presents to open


My child(ren) expects both expensive stocking presents and main presents


My child(ren) prefers stockings to their main Christmas present


My child(ren) believes their stocking was delivered by Father Christmas and I want them to think they have been well behaved


Parent’s reasons for decreasing spending on stocking presents Percentage who agree with this

My child(ren) no longer wants a Christmas stocking


I have less money now and can no longer afford to spend the same amount of money


I prefer to spend more money on the main Christmas present


I want family Christmases to become less materialistic


I don’t want to have to dip into my savings


I have had more children and have had to cut down on how much I spend per stocking


Christmas can, however, be a time of financial strain for families, with 50% of those who celebrate admitting they have had to dip into their savings. Over a quarter (27%), some 13.1 million, have to take money from their savings every Christmas to be able to afford the festive season. A further 11.4 million (23%) sometimes have to use savings, but not every year.

Paul Whitlock, Executive Director, Charter Savings Bank said: “Opening a stocking is an exciting part of Christmas morning and it seems parents are going above and beyond to provide both stocking fillers and presents under the tree.

“Christmas is an expensive time of year for everyone, especially for parents who seem to be spending more and more on making sure their children have the perfect Christmas.

“Savings are there to be used if needed and it is so important to start saving as much as possible from as early as possible, so you have a safety net when life does become expensive.”

1 Opinium conducted research among 2,003 adults living in the UK on behalf of Charter Savings Bank between 26th and 28th November 2019

Financial Services Compensation Scheme

Financial Services Compensation Scheme

Your eligible deposits held by a UK establishment of Charter Savings Bank are protected up to a total of £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, the UK’s deposit protection scheme. Any deposits you hold above the limit are unlikely to be covered. Please click here for further information or visit www.fscs.org.uk.