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Brits unwittingly spend £520m on Christmas presents that end up re-gifted

Photo: Ben White/Unsplash
Photo: Ben White/Unsplash

Brits are unwittingly spending more than £520m on Christmas gifts for strangers due to the popularity of “re-gifting”, research suggests.

In survey of 1,000 people by jeweller Goldsmiths, more than half (56%) said they would be more than happy to re-gift an item – although just a third have actually done so in the past, with a fifth having been caught out passing on a present.

Unbeknown to most, the popularity of re-gifting means shoppers are spending about £30 of their hard-earned cash on Christmas gifts for people they will never even meet. This equates to more than £520m being spent on strangers overall.

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Women are more likely to re-gift an item then men, at 62% compared with just 51%. However, men are almost twice as likely to get called out for doing so, at 27% compared with 17%)

The most common ways re-gifters have been caught out include forgetting to swap the gift tag out (43%) and re-gifting an item back to the person who had given it to them initially (30%).

Wine and beer are the most re-gifted items in the UK, with almost a third (32%) of Brits admitting to having palmed off second-hand beverages to friends and family.

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Following closely behind are bath and shower smellies (31%), perfume or aftershave (30%), and confectionery (24%).

There are certain exceptions to the rule when it comes to standard re-gifting. Items falling into the category of heirlooms, such as jewellery, or special items, such as a wedding dress or an antique book, are often the most cherished of second-hand gifts.

A resounding eight out of 10 (78%) of those surveyed agreed with this, sharing they would love to receive these items at Christmas.

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Those hailing from Sheffield were revealed to be some of the most sentimental in the country regarding gifting, with two in five residents saying they would be happy to re-gift items of jewellery, followed by a third of Edinburgh natives.

Craig Bolton, executive director at Goldsmiths, said: “It’s great to see so many people being open minded when it comes to re-gifting.

“That said, it’s imperative that you put some thought in to ensuring the person you’re passing on the present to will cherish the gift, and not be as underwhelmed as you were when you first received it.

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“Heirlooms are certainly deemed to be a separate side of re-gifting, and it’s understandable that people would want to pass down beautiful pieces of jewellery or items such as books or clothing that hold special meaning to them or their ancestors for others to carry on enjoying. What better way to show someone how special they are to you.”

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