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9.7m households facing Christmas on reduced income1

  • New research2 reveals 35% of UK households have seen their income fall compared with this time last year.
  • Over a third (34%) of households will spend less celebrating Christmas this year.
  • 18 to 24-year olds have been the hardest hit by the Covid recession with 49% seeing a cut in income.

A new study by GoCompare reveals that 9.7million households are facing Christmas on a reduced income, compared with this time last year, with 13% saying that Christmas is going to be financially very difficult indeed. 

The research carried out ahead of the festive season, found that 35% of UK households are living on less money than last year. 54% said their household income is roughly the same, while 11% have seen their income increase in the last 12 months.

The financial impact of Covid has hit the household income of adults aged 18 to 44-years old the hardest.  Nearly half (49%) of those aged 18 to 24-years, 48% of 25 to 34-year olds and 43% of 35 to 44-year olds have seen their income drop – compared with the average figure of 35%.  At the other end of the scale, the household income for people aged 65 and over has stayed stable with 73% saying it is about the same as this time last year.  Only 14% of people in this age group said they had experienced a drop in income.        

The squeeze on household budgets will see over a third (34%) cutting their Christmas spending.  A quarter of respondents said they ‘will have to be very careful with money this Christmas’.  Worryingly, 8% admit they are going to be spending money they haven’t got, to spread some festive cheer this year.

When asked about how they will pay for their Christmas, 52% plan to do so from income, while 30% have saved money throughout the year for their festive spending.  Credit cards will account for 16% of spending.  Some (5%) of those surveyed said they would borrow money to cover the cost of Christmas, while 5% admitted that they will probably go overdrawn.  

Lee Griffin, CEO and founder of Gocompare Money commented, “Lockdown and other restrictions aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus have plunged the UK into recession, leaving millions of households struggling to manage on reduced incomes.  On top of everyday money worries, Christmas is adding to the financial pressure on millions of households. 

“If you are struggling to make ends meet, don’t ignore the problem in the hope it will go away.  There is financial help available.  Check to see what Government benefits you are entitled to and find out how to access them.  And, if you’re having difficulty in making bill payments or repaying loans, contact the relevant organisation as soon as possible to make more affordable arrangements.”

Lee Griffin continued, “You can also give your finances a much-needed boost by shopping around for the best deals on your weekly shop, energy bills, insurances, credit cards and broadband deals.  There are some significant savings to be made.  Using a comparison site, like GoCompare, can help stretch your household finances by making it easy to compare. And providers constantly review their pricing, so even if you think you’re currently getting a good deal on your financial products it’s worth shopping around on a regular basis.” 

GoCompare customers could save up to £288 on their energy bills3, £277 on their car insurance and £107 on their home insurance4.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties, don’t ignore the situation. Take action as soon as possible:

  • Draw up a budget based on your income and outgoings and stick to it.
  • If you are still earning and just need to cut the cost of essential services and insurances, shop-around for a better deal.
  • If you are facing significant financial difficulties, talk to your mortgage provider or landlord as soon as possible to agree a payment holiday or a new repayment plan.
  • Speak to your current insurer and ask them what they can do to help in terms of reducing or deferring premiums. 
  • Talk to your bank about an agreed overdraft and an interest-free overdraft buffer and check with your credit card, loan or car finance provider to see what help is available in terms of a payment holiday or a new repayment plan.
  • The Government has made it easier for people to access benefits and claim sick pay.  Check what benefits you could be entitled to.
  • Seek free debt advice from the Money Advice Service online, at https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en


For further information please contact:

Gordon, Jason or Liz at MAW Communications on 01603 505 845

Keep up-to-date with GoCompare on Twitter; @GoCompare

Notes to editors

1The 9.7 million households figure is based on the ONS Families and Households report which identified 27.8 million households in the UK in 2019. From the GoCompare research, 35% of UK households say their income has fallen because of Covid-19.  35% of 27.8m = 9.7m.

2On 21-22 October an online survey of 2,044 randomly selected Great British adults was executed by Maru/Blue. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.1%. The results have been weighted by age, gender, region and social grade to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Great Britain. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

3 Ofgem retail market indicators show that the average Big Six energy company SVT to September 2020 was £1,125, the cheapest tariff, from the 10 cheapest suppliers, was £837 which shows that customers on a Big Six SVT tariff could save around £288.

4GoCompare switch and saving figures based on independent research by Consumer Intelligence between 1 August and 31 August 2020:

  • Car insurance: 51% of customers could save up to £277 with GoCompare Car Insurance based on a comparison of 30 companies.
  • Home insurance: 51% of customers could save up to £107 on their buildings and contents insurance based on a comparison of 37 companies.


GoCompare is a comparison website that enables people to compare the costs and features of a wide variety of insurance policies, financial products and energy tariffs.

GoCompare does not charge people to use its services, and it does not accept advertising or sponsored listings, so all product comparisons are unbiased. GoCompare makes its money through fees paid by the providers of products that appear on its various comparison services when a customer buys through the site.

When it launched in 2006, it was the first comparison site to focus on displaying policy details rather than just listing prices, with the aim of helping people to make better-informed decisions when buying their insurance. GoCompare has remained dedicated to helping people choose the most appropriate products rather than just the cheapest, and has teamed up with Defaqto, the independent financial researcher, to integrate additional policy information into a number of its insurance comparison services. This allows people to compare up to an extra 30 features of cover.

GoCompare is the only comparison website to be invited to join the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

For more information visit www.gocompare.com and www.gocogroup.com