Gifting Etiquette: Exploring Brits’ Gift-Giving Habits

Gifts. What’s not to love, right? From birthdays and anniversaries to holidays and baby arrivals, we’ll find any excuse to slip a gift into a special occasion. It’s a tradition that has shone for so long, because while gifts may be material, their overarching message is one of love. Yet, in the age of the conscious consumer, do we still care about traditional gifts?

We surveyed 2,000 Brits to find out more about their gifting etiquette.

Are you someone that loves a special occasion, partly for the purpose of giving and/or receiving gifts? Or, are you someone that would be happy to see this tradition go?

For some, it’s the holy grail of special occasions. Picking out presents and choosing pretty gift boxes, complemented by cards that perfectly represent your nearest and dearest (perhaps with an in-joke or two!?). And of course, on the other side – being the recipient of said gifts.

For others however, these gifts are overrated. Perhaps you’d rather be surrounded by loved ones; lead a ‘greener’ lifestyle with less consumption; or make memories through experiences, rather than give or receive material things.

What’s your stance? It’s time to find out where we stand as a nation on ‘gift-iquette’ in Britain.

What gifts do we want as a nation?

Receiving gifts

We asked Brits what types of gifts they most wanted to receive on a special occasion.

Turns out, cold hard cash was the gift recipients wanted to receive most. Over a quarter of Brits (26%) chose money over anything else. In expensive times with more costs to cover than ever before, are financial pressures causing us to pick the practical choice? Though this was a top pick to receive, it’s often an unpopular one to give – namely because deciding on an amount can be a delicate subject.

Lucky for gift-givers, then, that 74% (almost three quarters) of votes went towards ‘traditional’ gifts, with clothing, technology and beauty products the most popular choices. This means there’s a whole lot of people that still appreciate something picked specially for them, and presumably the act of opening something on their special day. If you’re struggling for

something to buy, take note: out of the above, women preferred to receive clothes (21%) and beauty products (12%), while men preferred to receive technology (23%) and clothes (19%).

We hear a lot of talk about the ‘experiential generation’ but not even 2 in 10 people chose an experiential gift. This could include the likes of a dinner date, a concert ticket or a flying lesson. Finally, only 5% of people chose a gift that goes towards a charitable cause – which, could be anything from donating to a charity on your behalf to sponsoring an endangered animal in your name. Only 13% of Brits wanted nothing at all.

The act of giving and receiving a ‘tangible’ gift still matters

Not only did we clarify that Brits still love a gift, but their gift preferences are still geared towards tangible items, too. Of those that had a preference, we found that 64% of Brits would prefer to receive a physical gift, versus only 17% of those that would opt for something digital.

Interestingly, 43% of Gen Z-ers and Millennials had no preference between a physical or a digital gift, showing they’re not so tied into traditions as the older generation. So, unsurprisingly, 9 in 10 Brits that are 45+ year-old said that they would actively prefer a physical gift over that of a digital one.

When it comes to ‘gift-iquette’, we also found that over a third (36%) of gift givers said they’d possibly feel guilty about not giving a tangible gift – but why?

Gift-giving

When we asked those that said they would feel this way, over half (53%) said it was because they viewed tangible gifts as more thoughtful and personal. This was followed by 37% who stated, “it’s important that the recipient has something tangible to unwrap”, and 28% who said they just do, “because it’s proper social etiquette”. Of course, almost 2 in 10 (18%) said they had to return the gesture when someone has gifted them something tangible, too.

Is a greener way of life changing our ‘gift-iquette’?

Almost 2 in 10 Brits said that they have considered the environmental impact of gifts prior to purchase and have chosen not to buy a gift because of this.

For most however, the perfect gift takes priority: almost half (47%) say that whether they’ve considered the environmental impact or not, this would not deter them from their chosen gifts for a friend, family member or other. This could include anything from a single-serving product to something with excess packaging, or anything that requires batteries that could corrode in our landfills.

This means that when it comes to the gifting process, 30% of us never think about the fact that our gift might be unwanted or wasted. Additionally, we never think about the environmental impact of making and sending greeting cards (38%), wrapping paper (32%) and product packaging (28%).

How to gift sustainably

Sustainable gifting

For those that want to follow traditional ‘gift-iquette’ while still taking steps towards a greener world – here are some handy tips to reduce your carbon footprint, without giving up the joy of gift-giving!

  • Wrapping: When you’re choosing wrapping paper, it’s the shiny ones that are often unrecyclable. This is the same for any paper with metallic, glitter or textured outers, so try to choose recyclable gift paper for wrapping presents.
  • Gift boxes: Many gift boxes are not recyclable due to the materials that they are made of. By having eco gift boxes and bags to hand, you can say no to excess gift packaging pushed by stores, and make sure the gifts you give are packaged in a greener way.
  • Sticky tape: If you want to go all-out green, pick up some eco-responsible tape. It’s made with natural rubber adhesives that can be recycled at the same time as your eco-wrapping paper and gift boxes.
  • Re-using gift bags and boxes: Each year, whether it’s for the holidays, birthdays or other occasions, we’re given a handful of gift bags, gift tags, wrapping paper and more that we can store away. What better way to stay green and save money, by keeping their life cycle going and regifting to someone else?

RAJA offer sustainable alternatives across an extensive range of wrapping and packaging, ensuring to incorporate eco-responsible practices at every step. Take a look at our range of gift boxes, which make for a great option for all your gifting needs.

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