Tesco launches inaugural ‘Tesco Christmas Report’

Tesco launches first ever Christmas report, offering a unique snapshot of the many different ways that Britain celebrates Christmas.

  • Report uses Tesco sales and insights data, as well as expert commentary, to reveal key seasonal trends and the changing face of Christmas in the UK; when and where we shop, what we buy and how we celebrate.
  • Study falls into seven chapters: Christmas Dinner Centrepieces, Vegan and Alternative Christmas Dinners, Christmas Drinks, Festive Desserts, Gifting, Traditions and New Year’s Eve.
  • Report follows launch of Tesco Christmas advertising campaign which celebrates the myriad of different festive rituals, and great Christmas debates up and down the country with the messaging ‘however you do Christmas, everyone’s welcome at Tesco.’
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Tesco has launched an inaugural ‘Tesco Christmas Report’ looking at how the nation celebrates Christmas. Using sales and insights data from millions of customers, a nationwide survey and analysis of social media, the report reveals annual trends and looks at how and when we celebrate, as well as what with.

With three quarters of the nation (74.7 percent) visiting a Tesco across the 12 weeks leading up to Christmas, and the average shopper making 62 trips to a Tesco in the same period, the supermarket is uniquely placed to reveal a truly enlightening snapshot of the many different ways we celebrate Christmas up and down the country.

Alessandra Bellini, Tesco Chief Customer Officer said:

“We launched the Tesco Christmas Report to celebrate the many debates and rituals that make Christmas what it is for people up and down the country.

"Our research found that, by and large, we’re still a nation of traditionalists – but with a third (31 percent) of people mixing things up at Christmas each year, that is changing.

"We want the nation to know that, however they do Christmas, and no matter what they need, Tesco has them covered with great quality food and drink throughout the season, whatever their budget.”

Christmas gatherings are getting smaller

Christmas gatherings are shrinking. Smaller households, particularly amongst the elderly, mean smaller gatherings at the dinner table which has led to sales of turkey crowns and joints increasing by 27 percent and 31 percent respectively. Even though sales of large birds are actually down by 7 percent, turkey is still King of the Christmas Dinner, set to be enjoyed by 64 percent of the nation this year. In fact, far from the frequent predictions that alternative meat centrepieces are on the rise, turkey is over four times more likely to be served at Christmas than the next most popular centrepiece, chicken (15 percent).

More people serving vegan and vegetarian mains than goose

Moreover, the trend towards a plant-based diet shows no signs of slowing down, with nearly one fifth of hosts (18 percent) catering for a vegan or vegetarian on the 25th. A ‘green’ Christmas dinner will be more popular in 2018 than turkey’s famous rival, goose, which is set to be enjoyed by just four percent of the nation.

A clear North-South divide has also emerged when it comes to a ‘green’ Christmas, with popularity waning as you get further up the UK. In Scotland, just five per cent of families will sit down to a vegan or vegetarian Christmas dinner compared to nine percent of people living in the South (South West, South East, London and East of England). Indeed, Brighton has been declared the vegan capital of the UK, with 12 percent of Christmas hosts there set to cook up a plant-powered main, compared to hosts in Glasgow and Liverpool, who are the least likely to cater for vegans (one percent).

Sprouts more popular than pigs in blankets

When it comes to our favourite trimmings on the dinner plate, pigs in blankets come out on top (64 percent), followed by stuffing (63 percent) and Yorkshire puddings (38 percent). Given their top status, Brits admit to having four pigs in blankets on average with their Christmas dinner, whilst a fifth (18 percent) will squeeze in five or more. Turning to veg, nearly three in four (71 percent) consider carrots to be the most important feature of their Christmas meal, whilst it will come as a surprise to a third of the nation that the other two-thirds (66 percent) feel the same about brussels sprouts.

A fizzy Christmas drinks cabinet

As for the Christmas drinks cabinet, a trend for no and low alcohol drinks has also emerged. One in five (18 percent) Brits will choose ‘no and low’ drinks on Christmas Day, with one in six (14 percent) drinking no alcohol at all. Those choosing to drink no alcohol at all on Christmas Day rises to 18 percent amongst 18-34 year olds and sinks to 11 percent amongst those aged over 55. That said, for the 81 percent of Britain who will be enjoying an alcoholic beverage with their Christmas Dinner, bubbles are the drink of choice, chosen by 33 percent – above white wine (32 percent), red wine (28 percent) and beer (19 percent).

As for what type of bubbles people will opt for on the big day, prosecco is the drink of choice (21 percent), followed by champagne (14 percent) and cava (6 percent). Indeed, over Christmas in 2017, Tesco sold enough bottles of its Plaza Centro prosecco to fill an Olympic swimming pool; that’s 3.8 million bottles. On the sparkling drinks front, a new challenger – the Italian Franciacorta – has also emerged. Using the same method as champagne, the refreshing drink will be enjoyed by 660,000 people across the UK this Christmas (one percent of the nation).

The slow goodbye to Christmas Pudding?

Looking at desserts, Christmas Pudding is still the top choice in British homes, set to be on the table for 40 percent of the nation this year, with Brits consuming 1.4 tonnes of Tesco Christmas Pudding each year alone. Yet, the Tesco Christmas Report suggests that its popularity is waning amongst the young, with the Christmas Pudding fan club sitting firmly with the over 55s. When questioned, 59 percent of over 55s said they’d choose Christmas Pudding as their dessert on the big day, compared to 35 percent of those aged 35-54 and 23 percent of those aged 18-34; a decline of 61 percent between the generations.

Pet gifting

When it comes to gifting, the nation’s pets are on course for a bumper Christmas. Sales of Christmas dog treats have seen a 26 percent increase year on year. Dogs are set to be the most spoilt of all pets, with 85 percent of people set to buy their hound a Christmas present. Rabbits hop into second place with 77 percent of owners buying bunny gifts, while cats get gifts from three quarters of their owners (75 percent).

New Year’s Eve in

Finally, it seems that New Year’s Eve is all too much for some, with more than two-fifths (43 percent) of Brits intending to spend their New Year’s Eve in front of the telly, and one in 10 (12 percent) planning to stay home alone. Just eight percent are planning on going out to party. The rest will stay in with friends (26 percent), find something else to do (11 percent) or do some volunteer work (one percent).


Notes to Editors

For further information contact the team at Splendid Communications / 0207 553 7300

To download the full Tesco Christmas Report, head to

Tesco conducted Opinium research with 2,008 nationally representative UK adults (aged 18+) between 5 and 9 October 2018. The research also includes insights gained from Tesco sales data from millions of customers across the UK during the 12 weeks of Christmas in both 2016 and 2017.

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