There will be significantly less presents under European Christmas trees this year, according to a survey conducted by Microsoft’s shopping community, Ciao.
The results reveal that people will not be splashing their cash on gifts for friends and family, with half of Europeans saying that they plan to cut costs on presents and celebrations.
Instead, to save money and look for new ideas, consumers are spending more time browsing online for Christmas gift suggestions.
The research also highlights that more than two thirds of consumers prefer to search independent shopping sites and communities for inspiration over blogs, websites and social networks.
According to the research from Ciao, Europe’s leading shopping community, increases in Christmas spending this year are unlikely across all European nations.
In the UK, only 16% plans to spend more on Christmas presents this year compared to one in 10 German and one in six Italian shoppers. In Spain, one in five people plan to spend more on presents this year compared to last.
With the boom in online shopping, gone has the traditional last minute rush to buy presents on the high street. Most people now start hunting for presents with plenty of time to spare. However, Spain is the uncrowned ‘last minute shopping champion’ of Europe where one in four starts the hunt for presents on Christmas Eve.
For those that do leave Christmas shopping to the final few days, their online behavior mirrors that of last minute high street shoppers with many finishing their online shopping just two or three days ahead of Christmas itself, but unlike high street shoppers they also run the risk of their presents not arriving in time.
Tactical online shoppers benefit from a broader product range and can often find presents sold out or not available on the high street.
An added advantage for users looking for presents on community sites is the benefit of user generated content and reviews, where people can ask members’ advice and opinions to find the perfect gift at the best possible price.
“These results further prove that consumers value user generated content more than ever before to help them make purchasing decisions online,” said General Manager Ciao Sales and Marketing, Ciao, Stephan Musikant.
“We’ve been watching the developments closely over several years and the number of reviews written on Ciao peaks annually during the festive period, showing how important they are to shoppers as they look to find the perfect presents for their loved ones.”
Musikant added, “Our partner online shops also experience a similar mad rush during Christmas compared to the rest of the year. Portals offer users the opportunity to search for presents around the clock with the added bonus of having the community on hand to help them find the ideal Christmas present.
“Members can also research prices, quality, stock availability and shop delivery times, adding value and efficiency to the consumer’s overall online Christmas shopping experience.”
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