It’s that time of year again. Presents, carol singers, stockings around the fire, and trees illuminated with all kinds of lights. Of course, it’s Christmas, that time of giving, sharing, and calm reflection with family and friends. Well, in theory. For most, the run up to Christmas is often hectic and hurried, with last minute panic, and mad dashes to buy presents and food that seem to be increasing in expense year upon year. This isn’t just the case for individuals and consumers; businesses too feel the strain of the festive period. With as much planning going into your family Christmas, but on a much larger scale, the costs of Christmas on businesses can be huge without proper preparation. Businesses too need to plan for food, festivities, parties, and downtime, and if they don’t the financial consequences could be disastrous.
Here at Stay Sourced we thought that this area -the costs of Christmas for businesses, companies and brands – has been underrepresented. As such, we took it upon ourselves to conduct our own survey. Talking to 100 UK professionals from varying business backgrounds, we asked for them to give their opinions and past workplace experiences, from how much their workplace spends on gifts, to what they really think of the often dreaded Christmas party. You can see the results of the Survey in our costs of Christmas infographic below. (click image to enlarge)
Business Christmas Costs:
It’s interesting to note the disparity that sometimes exists between our professional’s expectations of company Christmas spending, and the reality. In particular, what they expect from their workplace at Christmas. Over half of our interviewees said they’d appreciate a gift from their workplace, increasing to 69% in under 35’s, something that’s surely to be expected. At Christmas, people like receiving presents; no biggie. However, only 22% of those interviewed actually received gifts; that’s just over a 5th of all the interviewees, and less than half of those who said they’d like a gift. Its apparent then from the offset that companies are not meeting employee’s expectations.
It’s peculiar that a relatively small percentage of businesses give employees a corporate gift, considering the usage that many corporate gifts get. Of all the professionals that took part in the survey, a huge 89% still used a pen they’d received as a gift from a business at some point. As well as the obvious morale raising aspects of gift giving, presenting employees or clients with corporate gifts could increase company or brand exposure for years to come Rather than being a throwaway Christmas gift, many corporate gifts – mugs and calendars in particular – get repeated usage.
Another notable point is the apparent lack of awareness of UK businesses on the money saving prospects available to them at Christmas. It’s true that the HMRC provides a money back scheme to businesses holding parties or employee events, as long as the company stays within a few simple boundaries. Essentially, if a party is an annual event, is available to all employees – that means no “CEO” or “managers only” parties -, and the amount per head does not exceed £150, then it’s likely that money spent will be able to be reclaimed. However, the average amount spent by UK businesses is £183.40 , a good £33.40 too much to be able to reclaim money back. It’s true that Christmas can be a time of fun and frivolity, and spending by businesses and employees is likely to be met by the cry “what the hell, it’s Christmas!”. This is perhaps influenced by that 34% who think not enough is spent on the Christmas party. But how much is £33.40? If businesses spending this much just cut back a little, then they’d likely make a pretty big saving.
UK businesses again appear to have a lack of awareness of the potential financial losses that downtime can cause. A majority of 62% of those surveyed said their workplace did not have a plan for dealing with downtime. Take into account that UK SME’s lose an average of £11,500 a year due to downtime, and we can see a pattern forming. Lack of planning costs businesses money; this is clear. But many businesses seem unaware, or potentially unwilling to plan ahead. It’s difficult to see why; planning what will happen over the festive season is a relatively simple process. If your business is planning downtime over Christmas, simply scheduling tweets, Facebook posts, and website updates can keep your business or brand on the radar. 27% of people we interviewed said companies should expect to lose money over Christmas, and 31% ranked downtime costs as the biggest cost of the festive season; with a little savvy planning, this needn’t be the case.
If we’ve learned anything from the data gleaned from our 100 professionals, it’s that the costs of Christmas needn’t be as high as they are. Careful consideration of spending, planning ahead, and a heightening of awareness of spending exemptions could potentially help UK businesses save money over Christmas. Whether you own or simply work for a company, we hope this guide has provided some helpful insights and advice around the UK costs of Christmas.
Contact the Stay Sourced team today for advice on buying the right corporate gift for your business.