A NEW AXA study into the nation’s Christmas shopping habits has found over half of us have been told we’re ‘hard to buy for’, and 70 per cent expect to receive the same pile of pressies year after year.
And although 55 per cent of shoppers admit to meticulous festive planning, it seems we still struggle to get gift giving right. Indeed the survey reveals the average Brit receives three unwanted gifts worth a total of £55 every Christmas – at an accumulated cost of £3.4 billion nationwide.
Darrell Sansom, Managing Director at AXA Business Insurance said: “Across the UK, people put a lot of effort into their Christmas shopping. We have great intentions when it comes to gift planning, yet we seem to lose all inspiration when we hit the high street and year after year resort to the same faithful fall-back.
“In a way, we’re getting it wrong because we’re trying so hard to get it right.
“Shopping a little differently can really light up your Christmas and local business can be a great source of inspiration. If you take the time to visit your local butcher, baker, jeweller or toy shop, you are bound to discover a few unique gems you’d never find in the big chains and so surprise and delight even the fussiest friends and family.”
While one in ten of us start shopping between January and April; the poll found that most leave it much closer to the big day. A quarter of all Brits (24 per cent) consider themselves ‘last minute Christmas shoppers’ and 38 per cent say they love the buzz it brings.
Christmas trees, lights, and music all add to the ambience so it’s perhaps unsurprising that Christmas markets and craft fairs topped the poll for festive atmosphere, while local stores will also see a lot of business this year.
Eighty five per cent of shoppers plan to purchase presents close to home and 42 per cent say Christmas shopping is most enjoyable locally or in independent stores. Indeed over half of those polled said they’re prepared to pay a little extra for luxury cards, gift wraps and food purchased from a local independent store rather than a supermarket or chain.
Darrell Sansom added: “There’s no doubt that the biggest window displays and light shows attract shoppers from far and wide, but when the crowds and queues in the bigger stores get too much it can be a nice change to see what’s available off the beaten track.
“Nothing beats wrapping up and taking a wander, but even an online search will uncover some great independent businesses you may not be aware of.”