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Customer Behaviour

A Christmas stocking is the quintessential festive gift and new research from American Express (NYSE: AXP) reveals people gifting stockings this year are set to spend an average of £45 on stocking fillers. With over a third (37%) of Brits planning to buy stocking fillers for loved ones this year, this equates to a £873 million spend across the nation on these traditional festive gifts*.

Those planning to adorn mantelpieces and bed posts with stockings will gift an average of four stockings each. Nearly three in five (57%) will buy a stocking for their children, 35% will buy for a partner and one in five will buy for a parent (20%).

Top 5 stocking fillers for children (0-17) Top 5 stocking fillers for adults
Chocolate coins

 

Chocolates
Soft toys

 

Food or drink
Games

 

Perfume/aftershave
Socks

 

Socks
Books / magazines

 

Beauty products/toiletries

Shop Small

In the spirit of community, nearly a third of Santa’s little helpers (32%) will buy their stocking fillers from local independent stores, and over a half (54%) say it’s because they want to support these shops in this challenging year. Nearly two in five (37%) want to find gifts people won’t have seen elsewhere, and nearly a third (32%) enjoy browsing for inspiration.

Smart shoppers can earn up to £50 in statement credits with the American Express Shop Small offer when they support their local businesses. The offer gives Cardmembers a £5 statement credit when they spend £10 or more in-store at participating businesses. The offer requires enrolment via the Amex app and is valid once per participating location, up to 10 times, until 20 December 2020. View and search for participating UK Shop Small locations by visiting the Shop Small Map.

The feel good factor

Over a quarter (26%) of shoppers will give a stocking for the first time this year. It appears this gift appeals to the savvy consumer, with 20% choosing stockings because they can give smaller, lower cost presents to more people.

Nearly half of shoppers (46%) choose stockings because they are traditional gift, whereas 29% like the ‘feel good’ factor of giving.

Jasmine Birtles, financial and business journalist, author and TV presenter, and supporter of the American Express Shop Small campaign, says: “Up and down the country people love picking the perfect stocking fillers to surprise their family. A lot of thought goes into choosing gifts, but it’s also an ideal time to think carefully about where and how we spend. You can find really great gifts in local independent stores, and this year it’s more important than ever we support them. Coupled with savvy spending, making the most of offers and rewards available, you have the perfect combination for successful shopping.”

Jasmine Birtles gives the following top tips, whether you’re looking to splash out or be savvy with your stocking fillers:

  1. Gifts don’t have to cost the earth – a quarter of Christmas elves (25%) plan to be thrifty and use a stocking they already have. When it comes to gifts, think about giving ‘free’ gifts, like cooking your partner’s favourite meal or offering to do a week of babysitting for your sister.
  2. DIY –13% of our gifters will get crafty and make their own stocking fillers. Check out your local craft store for fun festive materials, or find online recipes for edible treats – from gingerbread fudge to peppermint creams.
  3. Support your local retailers – you can find lovely gifts in places you wouldn’t necessarily expect, visit your newsagent for a kid’s magazine, local café for a bag of beans for the coffee lover in your life, your chemist for bubble bath or perfume and your local deli for tins and jars to treat your favourite foodie.
  4. Good things come in small packages – stockings appeal because you can gift a variety of small, unique presents to loved ones. Children enjoy trying to guess what they will get by the shape and size of the stocking. Play a game together on Christmas Eve to see who can guess the most correctly – winner gets a chocolate coin!
  5. Offers and rewards – as well as the American Express Shop Small Offer, where you can earn a £5 statement credit when you spend £10 or more at participating small businesses, make sure you use a credit card that earns cashback, rewards or points for your spend. Every purchase can count towards something else – a treat for yourself in the new year, or even next year’s Christmas presents!

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