Centre:MK shines spotlight on Christmas shopping habits - Retail Shopfitting Summit
  • Centre:MK shines spotlight on Christmas shopping habits

    Modern men take pride in being skilled Christmas shoppers – compared to their parents who believed present buying was a ‘woman’s job’.

    A poll of 2,000 men found that in the 1970s, Christmas shopping was largely a female job, with 73 per cent of husbands leaving the task solely to their wives.

    Generations later, men’s attitudes towards gift buying have moved on, with 56 per cent believing men put more time and effort in today than in previous years.

    And 43 per cent said modern men independently buy gifts rather than leaving it to others, while 45 per cent think they are more thoughtful and generous.

    The study was commissioned by shopping centre centre:mk, and also found the average modern man spends almost two hours selecting the perfect gift for his partner.

    But the older age group of 65+ take the least amount of time, at just an hour and 20 minutes.

    More than half of younger men also remember their Dad leaving all present buying to their mum.

    It also emerged 74 per cent of men enjoy Christmas shopping and 42 per cent rate themselves as ‘good’ at present buying.

    A fifth go as far to describe themselves as ‘very good’.

    The research also found more than a third of men describe themselves as a ‘listener’ and take hints when present buying, compared to a sixth who admitted they are a last-minute shopper.

    And a third believe male shopping habits have been affected by the rise of female independence and prosperity over the past 40 years.

    Kim Priest, Head of Marketing at centre:mk, said: “We are seeing a move away from the ‘Last Minute Shoppers’ – men who traditionally leave it to the last minute then run into the centre on Christmas Eve.

    “There will always be some man-dashers but it’s fantastic to see that men’s attitudes today have shifted with over a third of men referring to themselves as ‘The Listener’.

    “They feel organised, take the hints and know exactly what to buy – how times have changed.”

    As part of the research, centre:mk, on the year of its 40th birthday, collaborated with men’s fashion expert and author, Josh Sims, to explore the change in male attitudes to Christmas shopping.

    Sims said: “Four decades ago, attitudes to male gifting were very different to today.

    “Women were still typically considered home-makers rather than professionals – their Christmas gift was an indicator of the man’s status as the breadwinner.

    “Employment for women over the second half of the 1980s then rose at the fastest rate than at any time in the last 40 years which changed things.

    “The increased financial independence among women means their partners are free to buy what they want for themselves regardless.”

    More than a quarter of respondents reported feeling ‘excited’ about the prospect of gift buying while 18 per cent said that shopping for their loved ones made them feel ‘content’.

    More than two fifths of those polled via OnePoll also spend the most money on their significant other, splurging an average of £137.

    Perfume and jewellery were revealed as the most popular modern-day items gifted from men to the loved ones in their lives.

    In this way, gift-giving in 2019 aligns with 1970s trends, where perfume and jewellery were also popular.

    Interestingly, there was more disparity between the percentage of women receiving domestic items as Christmas gifts.

    Between 1971 and 1989, one in every three items gifted to women from their partners fell into this category, with prime examples being ironing boards, washing machines and kitchen gadgets.

    In 2019, however, such items make up only 12 per cent of favoured women’s presents.

    According to Sims, there are the main categories male gifters fall into:

    THE LISTENER: He’s taken the hints and made a list. Although there may be no big reveal on the day – half of men buy their partners whatever it is they’ve been asked to buy.

    THE FRUGAL SHOPPER: The times are tight. Or he is. Either way, for 18 per cent of men Christmas is about keeping the money wrapped up in the bank and not under the tree.

    THE LAST MINUTE SHOPPER: Has he been planning for months, only at the last minute choosing to execute his plan? Or has he not realised Christmas comes the same time every year? Some 16 per cent of men leave their shopping to the week before the festive day.

    THE BIG SPENDER: Mr. Big splashes the cash. It may not be on something you actually want but never mind that. He’s one of the eight per cent of men who like to impress with an expensive gift such as a tablet or a phone.

    KING OF CASH: What could that slim, envelope-shaped gift under the tree be? Oh, it’s an envelope – with cash in it. Playing it safe, seven per cent of men give their partners money for the festive season.

    MR. ME: You live together, right? So what he buys for you could be, something for him as well. Around four per cent of men buy a gift they actually want themselves

    AUTHOR

    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

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