With just over a month left before Christmas, new PayPal research warns the nation is shopping on auto-pilot and jeopardising the element of surprise in their Christmas gifts.
Despite the millions of websites and gifts available online, over three fifths (61%) of gift shoppers in Yorkshire stick to just one or two big well-known “one-stop” online shops to buy their gifts.
According to the survey of 2,000 people, nearly a quarter in Yorkshire (24%) admit they opt for these shops as they usually dominate the top search engine results.
The lack of diversity in our Christmas shopping means millions risk sending and receiving the same presents yule in, yule out. 72% of survey respondents based in Yorkshire can already predict what presents they’ll be unwrapping on Christmas Day, meaning they are the most likely of all surveyed to receive a predicable gift.
Nearly a quarter (22%) shamelessly give loved ones the same present, from the same shop, every Christmas. According to the nationwide survey, the most popular gifts received from friends and family this Christmas will (predictably) be a box of chocolates, a bottle of their favourite tipple, and designer fragrance. Only 21% of people in Yorkshire say they expect to be totally surprised by the gifts they unwrap on Christmas Day.
However, the research suggests there is appetite for change in Yorkshire. Two fifths (40%) want to be more adventurous with gift giving, but 47% admit they simply struggle to find inspiration. Shoppers are also drawn to large “one-stop” online shops because they prefer to shop at familiar websites, and enjoy free returns when gifts need to be sent back.
Alison Sagar, Head of Consumer at PayPal UK, explains why consumers can have more confidence shopping at lesser known and small online shops: “Online shoppers like to know there’s a safety net so if the gift they buy isn’t quite right, they won’t have any hassle returning it. Our research suggests this is turning Christmas Day into Groundhog Day, and our gifts are becoming more predictable as millions of us head to just one or two giant online shops. For this very reason, we now enable shoppers to get a refund for the postage costs of returning items they paid for with PayPal. We want gift shoppers to be more daring and try new shops online this Christmas, and hopefully raise their game with more unique gifts in the process.”
Dr Chris Brauer, Director of Innovation and Human Behaviour Expert at Goldsmiths, University of London, says: “We all miss the magic of unwrapping a totally unknown, exciting gift on Christmas Day, but at the same time we enjoy staying within our gifting comfort zone. People are reluctant to stray away from the familiar especially at a time of year so heavily steeped in tradition, probably for fear of getting it wrong, and upsetting the Christmas spirit amongst friends and family. What we are all desperately looking for is a moment of serendipity when we stumble across the perfect gift for someone. However, this will only be possible if we expand our gifting horizons and look for gifts in new places, otherwise we find ourselves coming across the same, ubiquitous gifts time and time again.”
This year, PayPal has teamed up with TV personality Rylan Clark-Neal to encourage Christmas shoppers to try five new online shops and help put an end to predictable Christmas gifts: https://www.paypal.com/stories/uk/rylan-and-paypal-tackle-quot-auto-pilotquot-christmas-shopping
Rylan Clark-Neal’s top tips to ‘sleigh’ Christmas gift shopping:
Take a leaf from my book and start your search on page three of your search engine results. It’s the best way to uncover something a little different that doesn’t always appear in the top results.
When I’m looking for a gift, rather than just searching ‘gift for mum’, I type in three things I associate with the person and see what comes up – it’s a lottery but it may give you a laugh yourself.
Everyone is rushing around at this time of year – whether you’re waiting for a bus or you’re in a taxi to your next Christmas drinks, use the time to shop on your mobile and try five online shops you’d never normally shop at.
Look at the social media accounts of the person you are buying a gift for and look at who they follow. This has given me a few ideas in the past!
Don’t worry about getting it right first time! If your eligible purchase doesn’t arrive, or doesn’t match the shop’s description, PayPal can reimburse you, no matter how small or big the price tag was (see the PayPal website for more information).