You know that feeling when you have to feign excitement over getting a Christmas gift? That awkward smile you have to force as your crazy aunt looks excitedly into your eyes?
Yeah, you’re not alone.
According to data published by Global Data, one out of nine UK shoppers were expected to return their Christmas gifts last year.
That’s 4 million Brits who were so unhappy with their gifts, they’d rather go through the hassle of returning them than keep them.
Based on research commissioned by GoCompare Money, the average value of unwanted gifts last year was £35.10. That’s a whopping £143m worth of unwanted gifts to be returned throughout the UK.
So what’s everyone so unhappy about? What are these gifts that are so bad, we can’t wait to turn them in for something better?
It seems that clothing and material items make up most of the majority of unwanted gifts, with pyjamas taking the top spot, followed by jumpers/cardigans and tops. Other unwanted gifts include jewellery, underwear and footwear.
The top ten holiday gift returns:
- Jumpers/ cardigans
- Bags/ purses
Source: Global Data
So why are we getting it so wrong? Do we not know our loved ones well enough to give them a gift they actually want to keep?
Santa Claus has it easy when it comes to buying Christmas gifts – he’s got the list! But what happens if you don’t even have a list to work with? What do you get as a Christmas gift for your partner, your best friend, your boss?
In a survey published by YouGov, 65% of British adults admitted they don’t make a list of presents to ask for at Christmas. 19% said they do, but they don’t mind if people buy them something that’s not on their list. Only 3% said they mind if people go off their list.
Despite the majority of Brits not making a list of presents they would like to receive for Christmas, households continue to increase their spending substantially over the holiday period.
According to the Bank of England, the typical household in the UK spends over £2000 every month. In December, this number increases by 25%, with family members spending an additional £500 during the Christmas period.
The majority of Christmas shoppers (42%) in 2017 reported planning to buy presents for five to ten people. Almost one quarter said they would be buying presents for less than five people, while 7% said they would be buying gifts for more than 20 people.
So what do they buy?
The purchasing of music & DVDs sees a massive influx in December, with over 110% increase in spending at Christmas. The second-highest increase is on books, which sees an 85% growth, followed by computers with a 68% increase in spending. Spending on toiletries rises by 56% over the festive season, while clothing expenditure sees a 43% jump.
Studies have shown that experiences make for better gifts than material items. Research published online in the Journal of Consumer Research found that experiential gifts like a spa day or a music concert are more effective than material gifts at improving relationships from the recipient’s perspective.
The study argues that an experiential gift elicits a strong emotional response, which inherently fosters a closer relationship between the gift giver and recipient.
So what will you be buying your loved one this Christmas? Another box of chocolates they’ll devour in an hour or a chocolate-tasting masterclass they’ll never forget?