As the holiday season approaches, Czech stores are already preparing for the Christmas rush. Despite people strolling the streets in summer attire just a few days ago, retailers have started offering Christmas goods. Shelves are now stocked with traditional Czech Christmas treats, such as “cukroví” (Christmas cookies), and stores have introduced thematic offers related to baking. With prices stabilizing after two years of inflation, retailers are eager to see how willing people are to spend. Most Czechs have a predetermined budget for gifts, and the prices of traditional food items are not expected to increase further.
According to a survey conducted by GLS, more than ten percent of Czechs plan to spend over 10,000 Czech koruna on Christmas gifts this year. The majority, however, expect to spend up to 5,000 koruna.
Agrarian analyst Petr Havel, speaking to Novinky, anticipates that prices will not fluctuate significantly. Therefore, Christmas expenses are expected to be cheaper or remain the same as last year. While butter, sugar, and eggs have recently become cheaper, potatoes and other food items have seen a slight price increase.
Bakeries have reported similar order volumes as last year, with prices remaining steady, according to Bohumil Hlavatý, the executive director of the Association of Bakers and Confectioners. Retail chains, interviewed by Právo, rely on attracting customers with discounts but do not expect dramatic increases in sales or prices.
Iva Pavlousková from Tesco mentioned that they will start selling typical Christmas decorations from next week, with deliveries starting in mid-October. Kaufland has already introduced Christmas products at the beginning of this month. Similarly, Ikea has sold their Christmas range since October 1st, including decorations, tableware, candles, and gift packaging supplies. They have even reduced prices on some products.
Other retailers are counting on promotional events, such as Black Friday at the end of November, to drive sales. Analyst Petr Havel predicts that many households have already depleted their budgets with higher energy costs and other expenses, so they will likely be more cautious with shopping. This is supported by a survey conducted by GLS in October, which involved a thousand respondents.
The survey found that 52 percent of Czechs plan to spend a maximum of 5,000 koruna on gifts this year, while only 13 percent plan to spend over 10,000 koruna. Additionally, 53 percent of people intend to shop for gifts online.
“Customers will be more selective and, above all, compare prices,” said Michal Buzek, the head analyst at Heureka Group, speaking to Novinky.
E-commerce platforms also have a positive outlook for the pre-Christmas market. Jan Vetyška, the executive director of the Association for Electronic Commerce, described the anticipated high demand for toys, electronics, clothing, books, and cosmetics. Many people will also opt for various types of gift vouchers. To ensure timely delivery of Christmas orders, e-shops are considering hiring new employees and part-time workers and expanding warehouse capacities. They aim to avoid the frequent criticism of late delivery of Christmas orders.
Jiří Peroutka, spokesperson for the drugstore chain dm, stated that the deadline for ordering from their online shop with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve is December 19th. One of the largest online retailers, Alza.cz, promises that orders placed before midnight will be available the next morning. They have already noticed an increased demand for toys.