Irish households are expected to spend an average of €2,654 in the run-up to Christmas, according to Retail Ireland, the retail representative body.

This figure is €870 more than any other month this year as Irish shoppers are expected to take advantage of rising wages and falling prices to spend significantly more in the coming weeks. The Ibec group predicts an increase in total sales of more than €100 million and as a whole, we’re expected to spend around €4.5 billion over the Christmas period, a figure up from the €4.4 billion spent in 2016.

A combination of lower prices and higher disposable income should see consumers more willing to spend. According to the report, the prices of goods have fallen by 2.2% in the first 10 months of 2017 and by 8.4% in the last three years. The pattern of lower prices is set to continue as consumers avail of discounts arising from Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.While prices are falling, spending power is increasing as gross disposable income has climbed by 5.4% in the first half of 2017, following growth of more than 4% in 2016.

For supermarkets and department stores, it expects the week beginning 18 December to be a “make or break” week, with Christmas Day falling on a Monday. Thomas Burke, director of Retail Ireland, said department stores were expecting Christmas to be “a bit of a nail-biter this year” with last-minute shopping expected well into the final week.For 2017 the major trends centre around personalisation, fragrance, champagne and chocolates. For men, the focus will be on trainers, expensive branded and limited editions at mid-price, and for women, luxury accessories and niche fragrance remain firm favourites.

TVs, tablets and video game systems were key to driving sales for many retailers over Black Friday and Cyber Monday and significant demand for these products is expected continue right up until December 25th. While discounting and promotions were used to generate sales over the Black Friday weekend, there will be a renewed emphasis on margin retention on the run-up to Christmas.