Poker sets top Swedes’ Christmas gift lists

This year Swedes are expected to spend some 48 billion kronor on Christmas shopping - and the gift of the moment is a poker set, according to the Swedish Research Institute of Trade (Handelns utredningsinstitut, HUI).

The forecast would mean a new record for Christmas spending, with a 3 billion kronor increase, or 6%, compared to last year. This is the biggest rise since 1999.

HUI’s prediction means an average spend of over 5,000 kronor per person. The majority of this amount, 3,000 kronor, will be spent in retail outlets while the rest will go on groceries.

“Our prediction is based on the fact that so far this year we’ve had strong sales growth in the retail sector. Next year’s tax cuts also mean that many households have already upped their levels of consumption,” said HUI economist Carl Eckerdal.

“The government’s extra Christmas present to all families with children, in the form of the extra child support payout in December, will also boost the retail sector.”

An extra billion kronor will be distributed, and families with children will spend at least half of that, according to HUI.

The sectors enjoying the greatest surge in spending are clothing, furniture and toys – but the year’s hottest gift is a poker set.

The game’s popularity has increased dramatically in Sweden in recent years and Svenska Spel, the state gambling monopoly, says there are 200,000 internet poker players in the country.

But Santa’s sack will also be bulging with flat screen TVs, last year’s most popular gift, and a particularly swish automatic espresso machine, HUI reckons.

While the sales of electronic items are growing, income across the sector is under pressure from intense competition. So far this year prices have fallen by around 16%, forcing retailers to shift increasing volumes to maintain revenues.

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