Now that December is upon us, HR departments will be praying that the staff Christmas party passes off without incident. And new research has revealed that businesses in the UK will be splashing out close to £1bn on their festive shindigs this year, as spending looks set to return to pre-recession levels.
A survey of 500 business decision-makers, which was commissioned by Eventbrite, the online ticketing platform, found that 72% of business are planning to throw a Christmas party this year, compared to 40% in 2009. Eventbrite’s Christmas Party Index goes on to reveal that the average business will spend £42.48 per head, with businesses in London, the East Midlands and Yorkshire expected to shell out the most. While 11% of firms in London expect to fork out more than £100 per person, companies in Wales and Northern Ireland look set to spend the least on their Christmas parties, with an average spend of £19.79 and £12.36 per head respectively. However, it seems some companies are yet to shake off the shackles of recession: the research reveals that 10% of businesses expect employees to cover the costs of the Christmas party out of their own pocket.
Further findings suggest that the days of the traditional office party are numbered, with only 7% of companies planning to keep festivities within the confines of the workplace. According to the research, 17% of businesses will blow the budget on an exclusive party at an external venue, while 11% plan to attend a shared, themed party, with this figure rising to 19% for small businesses. Aside from the entertainment value it offers employees, 12% of businesses hope that sharing their Christmas party with other businesses will create networking opportunities. Finally, almost half of businesses are planning to treat staff to dinner and drinks, with one in five firms organising a team lunch.
“Businesses are back in the party spirit and expectations are rising fast as companies look set to lay on more exciting and experiential parties for staff this year,” said Marino Fresch, director of marketing for UK & Ireland at Eventbrite. “The rise in Christmas party spending, in particular, indicates how businesses see the party as an important event in its own right that will retain, reward and motivate their people.”
And with that we declare Christmas party season officially open.