Christmas shoppers turn to meaningful gifts with a positive social impact, as cost-of-living crisis bites

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More than a third of festive shoppers will spend less on gifts this Christmas typically cutting their budget by half, according to research commissioned by Oxfam.

More than a third of festive shoppers (35 per cent) will spend less on gifts this Christmas typically cutting their budget by half, according to research commissioned by Oxfam.

A combination of the cost-of-living crisis (66 per cent), worries about gas and electricity bills (42 per cent), a reluctance to get into debt (24 per cent), and trying to be thriftier (39 per cent), are propelling people to tighten their belts.

However, the research brings some comfort, with almost three quarters (74 per cent) of the 2772 adults surveyed saying that meaningful gifts, that don’t cost a lot, are best.

Concerns over the environmental impact of Christmas like plastic waste and emissions (47 per cent) along with a desire to shop ethically (20 per cent) are also driving shopping decisions as 23 per cent of respondents said they’ll buy second-hand gifts this year because it’s more environmentally friendly.

It also emerged 27 per cent will choose gifts that have a positive social impact, such as charity gift cards or donations to a good cause.

And 17 per cent agreed some of the best presents they’ve ever received were ones that didn’t cost much at all.

Lorna Fallon, director of retail for the charity, said: “Giving presents shouldn’t be about how much you spend.

“This year we hope people won’t feel pressurised into spending more they can afford, especially at a time where many people are worried about the cost of living.

“Bringing loved ones’ happiness on Christmas day does not need to be expensive, but it can be thoughtful.”

The research also found when it comes to giving and receiving Christmas gifts 43 per cent said it’s the thought that counts.

With more than one in 10 (12 per cent) buying second-hand gifts as books, particularly fiction, are revealed as top of people’s charity shop wish list (23 per cent).

Conducted via OnePoll, the study also found that 28 per cent feel pressure to buy gifts at Christmas, with nearly a quarter (24 per cent) relieved they have agreed with family and friends to cut back on giving this year.

Although 34 per cent of those buying for others plan to spend less per person this year compared to last.

With the average number of people on a Christmas gift list reducing by one person, from 10 in 2021 to nine this year.

It also emerged, regardless of household income, everyone is set to feel the squeeze this year as 41 per cent of shoppers with a household income of £20,001 to £25,000 want their money to stretch further.

While a near equal percentage (42 per cent) of those with a household income of £60,001 to £70,000 feel the same.

Lorna Fallon added: “We’re finding more people are shopping for books this year and Christmas shopping is well underway for unique gifts that won’t break the bank.

“Womenswear and menswear sales in our shops are also up, suggesting that customers are turning to charity shops to make their pound go as far as possible whilst supporting good causes.

“Browsing in a charity shop this year for just some of your presents will make your budget stretch further as well as bring a smile to your family with one-off, more sustainable, thoughtful and ethical gifts. For the friend or relative who has everything, or if you’re short on time or stuck for ideas, choose Oxfam Unwrapped gift cards. Funds raised from these cards support communities to make positive changes, by providing essentials like clean water and sanitation."

Top 10 reasons Brits are cutting spend on gifts this Christmas

  1. The cost-of-living crisis
  2. Not being able to afford as much this year
  3. Just being careful as things get more expensive
  4. Worries about paying gas and electricity bills
  5. Trying to be thrifty with my spending
  6. Not wanting to get into debt
  7. Not feeling the need to spend money to enjoy Christmas
  8. They spent too much money last year
  9. Wanting to put more thought into gifts rather than spending lots on them
  10. Worries about interest rates on credit cards

Top 10 ways Brits will spend less on Christmas gifts this year

  1. Reducing spend per person
  2. Only buying for immediate family
  3. Reducing spending circle (the total number of people to buy for)
  4. Purchasing fewer, more thoughtful presents
  5. Agreeing in advance with family where to spend less
  6. Only buying for the children in the family
  7. Buying second-hand gifts that are high value but lower in price
  8. Buying barely used or excellent condition second-hand books
  9. Giving more home-made presents
  10. Pooling together with friends and family to buy one gift for each family member


*About Oxfam: 

Oxfam is a global movement of people all working towards the same goal – an end to the injustice of poverty. Together we save and rebuild lives in disasters, help people earn a living, and speak out on the big issues, like inequality and climate change, that keep people poor. Oxfam has more than 550 shops in the UK. By buying and donating through Oxfam shops, you can help to protect our planet, while helping the poorest people around the world to escape the injustice of poverty.

About the research:

The poll of 2,772 UK adults who celebrate Christmas was conducted between 27th October 2022 and 3rd November 2022 via OnePoll.

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