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Nearly £27bn in Christmas gifts could be unwanted

Nearly £27bn in Christmas gifts could be unwanted

Category: Money

Updated: 21/11/2016
First Published: 21/11/2016

With festive spending expected to total a whopping £73 billion this year, bold Brits have admitted they plan on returning nearly half of their takings. Are you planning to return gifts that aren't on your wish list?

No more secrets, Santa

The research from Watchshop.com reveals that almost 40% of Brits have replaced or returned an unwanted gift in the past, with nearly one in four even selling an unwanted present. This behaviour is surprisingly found more in couples than single people, with Brits in relationships more likely to re-sell gifts, even though their other half would quite likely be aware of this.

Much of this could be due to a decreased appetite for the unknown, with only 49% of Brits liking gifts to be a surprise. Instead, nearly one in five prefer to choose their own gifts, by for instance making sure their family and friends are well aware of their wish list before the season, or by simply buying the gift themselves and asking someone else to wrap it for them. The Scots were found to be the fussiest, with 22% preferring to pick out their own presents.

Is it all about the price tag?

Part of the reason why people don't like to be surprised anymore is that they may base their gift list on things they want but can't afford at the time, such as games they would like to play or films they'd like to own that they don't have the money for themselves – possibly as they're too busy spending on gifts for other people.

Still, the majority do say they prefer a well thought out or sentimental gift (68%) over an expensive one (10%). However, that doesn't mean they aren't curious about the value, with nearly a quarter looking up the monetary value of their gift online – a figure that rises to a whopping 42% among 18-24 year olds.

The same focus on money applies to buying gifts as well, with nearly a third admitting they base the gifts they buy on the monetary value of presents they've received from the person in question. The study found that women are more likely to do this, while nearly half of those aged 25-34 base their present-buying choices entirely on the value of the gifts they have received.

Shopping isn't easy

All of this doesn't mean that people don't care about finding the right gift, however, with the research finding that the average Brit invests 3.5 days into finding the perfect present. Given the number of people we need to buy presents for, that could add up to a lot of days!

For those who are planning to return or sell their gifts and get cash instead, you might consider putting that money into a savings account to watch it grow. Or, if you did your Christmas shopping on credit, as many are planning to do, you would be best off using the cash to pay off your debt, so you can avoid having to pay interest. Of course, unless you are planning to sell your gifts outright, it may be hard to get anything more than store credit, so it might be easiest to just keep them after all (or, if you're really cheeky, gift them on)…

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.

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