Buying Christmas Presents… after Christmas?

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The financial burden of Christmas may finally be taking its toll on us, after a survey found that almost a quarter of Britons intend to buy their Christmas presents in the January Sales this year. The survey, conducted by comparison site uSwitch, discovered that nine in ten consumers reported that they had seen presents they had bought for Christmas reduced in the sales only days later.

The tradition of the January sales stretch back for generations, as retailers look to cajole customers into parting with their newly acquired cash and gift vouchers with the offer of huge post-Christmas savings. Last year some shoppers were reported to have queued for up to 12 hours, notably in Selfridges on Oxford Street in London, to be the first ones through the doors on Boxing Day for the post-Christmas sales.

The sense of pride and prestige the consumer feels from purchasing an expensive item at sale price is a lot of what drives this trend – as well as the basic principle of having the opportunity to make any savings possible in the current harsh economic climate. In fact, not all of those surveyed that said they would be giving presents post-Christmas was simply because they were cash-strapped; a fifth of participants cited the principle of being able to get more for their money as the driving force for this decision.

Consumers who took part in the survey estimated that they would save more than £40 on average – with some claiming they could even make savings to the tune of £100. The idea of giving gifts after Christmas is certainly a new concept; in years gone by it was deemed essential for consumers to get their gifts in place and to their recipient’s pre-Christmas. For this reason, many retailers heavily position their pre-Christmas sales pitch on the principle of being able to guarantee delivery by Christmas, as this has always been a key proposition to consumers. It would appear, however, that the economic climate has driven many to a new dynamic out of necessity. Indeed, 40% of participants stated they simply could not afford to buy Christmas presents, suggesting the decision has been taken out of their hands.

Therefore now, more than ever, the post-Christmas sales could prove to be crucial to retailers in order to cash in on the sales they may have missed out on pre-Christmas.


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