After a 2022 edition under the sign of inflation, the French are getting ready for a slightly quieter holiday season: this is, in any case, the conclusion of a survey* carried out by the Research Centre for the Study and Observation of Living Conditions (Credoc). Unveiled exclusively by Le Figaro, this note underlines that our compatriots will continue to make efforts this year, but they still believe that they can enjoy themselves more. Enough to hope for good gifts under the tree...
From 6.2% to 3.4% between November 2022 and November 2023, year-on-year inflation has slowed considerably, as many experts expected. While prices are still not falling, the surge in bills is gradually normalizing, easing the budgetary constraint on households. They therefore say they are a little more willing to dip into their savings for the holidays, while the horizon is slightly brighter: "This autumn, we are observing a certain decline in the budget cuts envisaged for the period," notes the study. 57% of French people surveyed say they plan to reduce their spending on the holidays compared to last year, a significant proportion but much lower than the 72% recorded a year earlier. "Budget restraint forecasts" are falling on all items of expenditure, such as meals, gifts, travel or decorations. While consumers are willing to tighten their belts on transportation or food, they are trying to preserve children's gifts, an item on which fewer individuals are willing to make an effort.
Those surveyed are also optimistic about the economic situation: just over one in two French people - 54% - said they were ready to meet an unexpected expense by dipping into their reserves in October, compared to 43% only a year earlier. "Inflation issues are widely reported in the press, so the beginning of a slowdown has been noted. People see it in their daily lives," says Marianne Bléhaut, director of the data and economics division at Credoc. This observation goes hand in hand with the one made by INSEE last week: national statisticians indicated that household morale improved slightly in November. In particular, individuals said they were more confident about their personal financial situation, as well as about the opportunity to make major purchases. At the same time, the share of households worried about inflation was declining.
Some households continue to tighten their belts
While the overall results are encouraging, a significant proportion of our compatriots continue to make efforts. Nearly eight out of ten French people will hunt for promotions, but the proportion of people willing to "compromise on quality", by buying at lower prices or from hard discounters, is decreasing. Similarly, the proportion of French people buying second-hand, favouring home-made products or reducing the quantity of goods purchased is decreasing, a symbol of less constrained purchasing power.
Unsurprisingly, not everyone is equal when it comes to inflation, and the slowdown in soaring prices has left the humblest in the lurch. Couples with children or single-parent families are among those most willing to tighten their belts: "The intention to reduce spending for the holiday season has decreased by only 4 points, compared to 15 on average," the study notes. Similarly, they "want to
preserve gifts for children, but twice as many as the average are considering reducing this budget."
As Christmas approaches, there is a "double movement": the loosening of constraints, perceptible for the majority of French people, "is not accessible to everyone," sums up Marianne Bléhaut. Indulging does not mean that there is a general loosening of economic constraints. Difficulties may persist, but for some French people, it will be conceivable" to have more fun, concludes the expert.
*To obtain these results, Credoc questioned a representative sample of 3000 people aged 15 and over, and a second sample of 2000 adults. This work was carried out at the same time as last year, allowing for a close comparison of the evolution of trends. "The surveys are conducted online, and respondents are selected using the quota method," the institution said.