Irish consumers are simplifying their Christmas celebrations this year and opting for functional gifts like socks, says an article in the Irish Times.

Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) interviewed more than 300 companies by telephone and found that retailers are reporting modest purchasing habits that contradict Irish shoppers reputation as the biggest Christmas spenders in Europe.

Consumers also seem to be more focused this year, purchasing only what they came into the shop to buy and foregoing presents for themselves. They are also less likely to take up offers and promotions, like "three for two" deals," designed to increase average transaction values.


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“Functional gifts that can be used and worn are in demand. Gifts for show and style are a thing of the past,” said REI.

Even food retailers have reported that shoppers are buying only “the basic core item and are happy to go without the trimmings."

Traditional “gifts of yesteryear” that lost popularity during the Celtic Tiger years are making a comeback, according to retailers.

“Dad can expect a few pairs of socks this Christmas,” the trade group said.