Industry Analysis

Average Spending on Gifts in the U.K., Demographics of People That Purchase Gifts in the U.K. and Places to Buy Gifts in the U.K.


Average Spending on Gifts in the UK

Details on the amount that the average person in the UK spends on gifts annually have been provided in row 13, column B of the Spending on Gifts tab of the attached spreadsheet. Below is a summary of the key findings and an overview of how the amount has changed over the last 10 years.

Overview and Future Projections of Spending of Gifts in the UK

  • As it stands, the average person in the UK spends approximately £630 on gifts annually. In addition, the average person in the UK purchases 28 gifts a year for friends and family excluding Christmas presents. The average cost of each gift is £22.50.
  • The average spending per person when it comes to gifts has gradually increased compared to 2016. In 2016, people spent approximately £850 annually on gifts and celebrations. On average, one person purchased 11 gifts for friends and family in one year. The average cost per gift was about £36.61.
  • During Christmas, an average family in the UK spends approximately $660 on Christmas gifts and many of them use their credit cards to pay for the bills.
  • In 2013, the average spending on Christmas per household was £822.
  • In 2012, the average spending on Christmas was £768.
  • From the above data, it is clear that people in the UK have been spending less on gifts in the past 10 years. One of the reasons is that many people are opting for other options such as experiential gifts like concerts and spa treatments.
  • In the future, spending on gifts may reduce further given that the exchange of unwanted gifts has reduced due to social media and experiential gift giving. Furthermore, people today are inclined to choose gifts that suit the receivers’ lifestyle and hobbies. In addition, people are valuing sharing experiences with loved ones as opposed to simply buying gifts.

Demographics of People That Purchase Gifts in the UK

The key gift purchasing demographic in the UK is likely to be 18-44 yrs old, female, ABC1 grade, have higher education levels than the general population. The demographics have been described in greater detail below.


  • Age breakdown of the gift card consumer in 2019:
  • A survey that studied female fragrance gifting trends (both giving and receiving) in the UK sampled 2,000 women aged 18-44.
  • One in three millennials purchased an experiential gift in 2018 versus 19% of the general population. Over three in five (61.7%) millennials in the UK choose to purchase a luxury experience over a luxury product. The spend on experience gifts in the UK was £1.6 billion during the 2018 festive season.


  • Those searching for “experience gifts” in the UK are 34% more likely to be 18-24, female, and have a household income of 50k+.
  • The average age of customers who shop at, the second-largest online gift seller in the UK, was 33 in 2005. Fifty-five percent of the customers are female and account for 75% of sales. The company “offers a variety of designs for personalized gift cards as well as customized novelty gifts, wines, and spirits.”
  •, a leading online gifting portal in the UK, targets “a predominately female gift-buying demographic.”

Socioeconomic Group/ Income

  •’s (the largest online gift seller in the UK) 2014 Christmas campaign in the UK targeted ABC1 women.
  • “Cadbury’s research into the Gifting market cafe concept,” for Cafe Cadbury, “an exciting all day premium cafe and gift experience also offering a take-out service on the ground floor,” found that ABC1 women aged 25-45 were a key demographic for the cafe. As of 2019, 75% of Cafe Cadbury customers were female and 74% of all customers were ABC1.”
  • 3 Blonde Bears, an online personalized gift retailer also targets ABC1 consumers.


  • “Education correlates strongly with social grade.” The ABC 1 demographic typically work in white-collar jobs and typically have higher education levels than the general population.
  • “People from lower social grades (C2DE) are 11% less likely to recommend HE than people from higher grades (ABC1).”


  • “Both millennials and members of Gen Z spend most of their shopping time over Christmas buying for others, including their parents (23% and 32% respectively), siblings (16% and 23%) and friends (20% and 24%). One in five millennials (21%) also buys for their children.”

Places Where People in the UK Buy Gifts

People in the UK buy gifts in physical stores such as supermarkets, department stores, and specialty chains, among others. Shoppers also buy online through channels such as websites. A complete list of the places and the percentage split is presented below.

  • 50% of people in the UK purchasing gifts in physical stores shop in supermarkets/hypermarkets.
  • 41% purchase gifts in traditional department stores.
  • 31% purchase gifts in traditional local shops.
  • 29% shop in specialty chains.
  • 14% of gift shoppers buy in factory outlet stores.
  • 10% purchase gifts in luxury store.
  • 60% of online shoppers purchase gift in-stores. 41% purchase through the website of stores without physical stores. 27% purchase through the website of stores with physical locations.
  • 16% of UK gift shoppers purchase through mobile commerce of stores without physical stores. Only 10% of shoppers use mobile commerce of stores with physical store.
Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at Simple Manifestation with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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