The most 'wasteful' time of the year
By Scott Murphy | Wed 17 Dec 14
By Scott Murphy | Wed 17 Dec 14
Socks at Christmas
Patterned, striped, monogrammed or novelty. The style changes every year but I'm guaranteed to get at least one pair each Christmas. To some people socks are the stereotypical useless Christmas gift. I quite like getting socks as I find them useful, but many other people receive gifts each Christmas they really don't want or need.
Christmas gift research
We decided to investigate Brits gift buying habits and commissioned research agency Populus to survey consumers across the country. The results showed that seven in ten people (70%) stated that Christmas gifts in shops are "tat" or "tacky" and three quarters (73%) said that too much money is wasted on buying presents people don't want.
These presents come in all shapes and sizes - from toilet seat covers to novelty mugs and things as bizarre as a full sized gold coloured plastic trumpet! Nearly half of those surveyed (46%) said that they receive at least one present each year that they don't want.
These unwanted gifts end up in a variety of places. Four in ten people (41%) have given a Christmas gift they didn't want to charity, a quarter of people (23%) have resold an unwanted gift and one in seven (13%) have binned a present they didn't want. Amazingly, one in 20 of us will accidentally give a present back to the person who bought it for us!
Waste not, want not
We calculated that a small fortune is spent on gifts which end up in the bin - an average of £122 million. A further £460 million is spent on presents which are given to charity shops and gifts worth £313 million are resold - giving a total of £900 million spent on unwanted presents*. To put this into perspective, if this amount of money was placed in a one year product from RateSetter at today's rate of 3.3% this would earn people £29.5 million in interest by next Christmas.
However change is afoot. Rather than waste time and precious money on such gifts, consumers are increasingly embracing the cash giving culture. Half of people surveyed (49%) say they are more likely to give cash as a present now than five years ago and three quarters of people (75%) acknowledge that this is better than an unwanted gift. Instead, the recipient can pool their money to buy something that they really want - a fact which eight in ten people (81%) in the survey agreed with.
Infographic: Dreaming of a waste-free Christmas
For a larger version of this infographic, click here.
What are you hoping for, this Christmas?
I'm expecting to get socks again this year along with some cash. But how about you? Will cash be king in future? Let us know which you prefer and if you've ever received a bizarre present in the comments below.
About the survey
Methodology: Populus surveyed 2,044 GB adults online between 3-4 December 2014. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
NRS 2013 Population Estimate = 48,358,351
The percentage of the GB population who binned a gift last Christmas was 10.13%. The average cost of these gifts was £25.00.
The percentage of the GB population who gave a gift to charity last Christmas was 34.54%. The average cost of these gifts was £27.59
The percentage of the GB population who resold a gift last Christmas was 17.95%. The average cost of these gifts was £36.09.
We live in a sharing society so why not share this article with your friends and family? Use the sharing buttons at the top or grab the URL to this page and paste into your social network of choice.
Hopefully you'll find answers to your questions in our FAQ section.
Still need help? That's fine. Just call us on 0203 142 6226 or email [email protected]
Here's where you can view, select and compare previously matched market rates on RateSetter. Also, check out our default and coverage ratios and see a guide to matched volumes over time.