Brits will undoubtedly splash the cash this Christmas, but poor decision making and impulse buys will leave a whole host of presents going to waste at major national expense.
The findings released today by VoucherCodes.co.uk, the leading savings site, have discovered that Brits are expected to spend £961.97m on presents that will remain unused this Christmas. The research discovered it’s the nation’s ladies that are most likely to be left feeling a bit flat – three-quarters of women (77%) will unwrap a present they won’t ever use this year, compared to two-thirds of men (66%). Fortunately, however, half of women (51%) believe they’re good at hiding their disappointment when opening Christmas presents and almost a third (29%) confess they’ve returned a present without the person who bought it even knowing.
Nevertheless, a staggering one in three people (33%) across the UK have been left unable to return a Christmas present as they weren’t provided with a gift receipt. With the average such gift costing £35.50, this is the equivalent of £623.92m spent on wasted presents across the UK. Indeed, a quarter of presents left unreturned (24%) cost more than £50.
With time running out to complete Christmas shopping, pressure is mounting to purchase the perfect gift to place under the tree. The research has found this is particularly true of those in relationships, with people’s partners topping the list as the individual most difficult to shop for (26%) and who we spend the longest shopping for (33%).
The research has revealed the average adult will splash out £112.65 on their partner, spending more on their better half than on both parents combined (£107.05). Men are particularly generous in this regard, spending a total of £248.90 on their parents and partner compared to women spending £194.70.
However, with just under a tenth (8%) of parents saying they’re the most difficult to shop for, it’s the UK’s kids who will really be cashing-in this Christmas. Mums will spend £143.20 on their son and £146.70 on their daughter, compared to Dads spending £135 and £141 respectively.
In an age-old debate, today’s figures suggest the UK has a greater proportion of cat lovers that dog lovers. The average cat owner will spend £33.20 making sure their pet has a Christmas to remember, while dog owners will spend £31 on man’s best friend.
Boxing Day madness
Despite lavish spending on our loved ones, and such huge sums potentially going to waste, it is hard to believe that the shopping spree will only briefly pause for 24 hours before we rush out again on Boxing Day.
However, research has discovered that half of 16-34-year olds (47%) plan to overcome their food comas by going shopping on Boxing Day. Indeed, the average young adult expects to spend £94.90 on goods that Santa had clearly forgotten just a day previously – and believes to be rewarded for their efforts by saving 27% on pre-Christmas prices. In contrast, although just one in five (18%) over the age of 35 brave the cold to hit the shops, those that do intend to spend £100.50.
Londoners are the nation’s biggest lovers of Boxing Day shopping. As many as two out of five (41%) plan on heading out with the intention of cashing in on the sales, with the average shopper planning to spend an incredible £125.90. In contrast, just a quarter of people (25%) in the North East will go shopping on Boxing Day and they will spend just £70.
Anita Naik, Lifestyle Editor at VoucherCodes.co.uk, said: “We’re seeing Brits are extremely generous with both their time and resources when it comes to presents for loved ones at Christmas. However, the research has highlighted we’re overspending by purchasing unnecessary presents that will end up back in shops come January or, even worse, languishing at the bottom of a drawer never to be used.
“We would encourage Brits to shop for quality rather than quantity and to identify those special gifts that will definitely bring a smile to people’s faces. Crucially, always keep the safety net of a receipt in case we make a mistake and we can console ourselves knowing it’s more than the thought that counts.”