In 2020, customers all over the world have had to adapt to the new normal. With Christmas coming up, we wanted to know how gifting had changed in a socially distanced world. To do that, we reached out to survey our amazing community to find out how things are changing for them. We found the results fascinating, and we think you will too. We promise you don't have to be into numbers to learn from them!

Key findings:

  • 62% of people surveyed said their gifting habits had changed
  • 51% of people said their most popular gifting option was health & beauty prior to Coronavirus
  • 43% said that food and gift will be their most popular choice following Coronavirus
  • 57% of people intend to do their Christmas shopping online this year
  • 28% of people plan to spend less this year on Christmas than in previous years
  • 67% of people would like to convey happiness with their gift
  • 36% of people are feeling indifferent towards Christmas this year
  • 60% of people have purchased a gift for themselves this year


We've always loved shopping online, even before Coronavirus made it the only possible option. Our online store has meant that PartyLite lovers from all over the globe can shop from the comfort of their home, whenever they want.

Before we dive into our study results, it’s important to know a bit more about online shopping from before the events of this year.

According to a study from Salescyle, online retailers saw a 22% increase in visitors to their site in December 2019 compared to December 2018.

This tells us that online shopping was becoming more popular each year before the pandemic.

So let's dive into what we’ve learned!

Our Findings

Gifting habits have changed due to the Coronavirus pandemic

62% of people surveyed said their gifting habits have changed due to coronavirus

It’s no surprise to learn that as our lives have changed, so have our gifting habits.

But what is a surprise is the percentage of people who said in our survey that their gifting habits had changed - 62% in fact!

To understand just how these habits have changed, let’s take a look back to before the pandemic.

What were the most popular gifts before Coronavirus?

Health and beauty gifts were the most popular type of gift before coronavirus

Our survey found that the most popular gifts to give prior to the pandemic were health and beauty related, at 51%.

The next most popular category to gift was clothing and accessories, 42%, and food and drink gifts came in third at 33%.

The above results might not be surprising to read as we’ve all purchased these types of gifts in the past, and we all know it’s hard to resist those beauty and fashion gifts at any time of year! Just wait to see how this can all change in the short space of a year…

What are the most popular gifts right now?

Food and drink gifts are now the most popular type of gift after Coronavirus

Next, we asked people what types of gifts they were planning to buy for Christmas this year given the ongoing social distancing guidelines.

One of the biggest changes we found was the growth in food and drink gifts, like hampers. These took the top spot for the most popular gift type at 43%.

Second came gift vouchers at 36%, and financial gifts were a close third option at 35%.

All of the above back up the trend for socially distanced gifting, as gift cards and financial gifts are easy to deliver or require non contact at all. As well as this, food and drink hampers are a great way to spread happiness in hard times.

Online shopping is going to be bigger than physical shopping this year

57% of people intend to do all of their Christmas shopping online this year

We could’ve guessed that people are planning to avoid shopping in stores this year, but the growth in online shopping has been phenomenal and beyond anyone’s expectations.

We’ll show you what we mean. In 2019, only 20% of gifts were bought online. Our survey results lead us to think that this percentage is going to triple in the coming months.

Despite the challenges faced by retailers, this is bound to be a big year for online shopping.

For our Consultants, this could mean a whole new approach to Christmas!

People are spending less this year due to Coronavirus

28% of people surveyed intend to spend less on their Christmas shopping this year

Another unfortunate side effect of the pandemic has been the impact on people’s incomes, and with it, their ability to spend.

In our survey, 28% of people said they would be spending less this year due to Coronavirus. That’s nearly a third of shoppers.

This big dip in how much people are able to spend could mean that retailers may not see the sales that they’re used to.

What sentiment are people trying to convey with their gifts?

Happiness is the most popular sentiment that people want to convey with their gifts

They say a gift is worth a thousand words and here at PartyLite, we know the happiness that a gift can bring. This sentiment still seems to ring true despite the pandemic. In our survey, we found that the emotion people most want to spread with their gift, is the feeling of happiness (67%).

We also found that conveying meaning and comfort through gifts were the next most popular choices. This shows that people want to spread a bit of positivity when giving gifts to others.

People’s feelings towards Christmas

36% of people feel indifferent to Christmas 2020

One of the biggest surprises from our survey (though maybe not for the Grinches out there!) is that the people we surveyed had a negative feeling towards Christmas in 2020.

The number one feeling we recorded was indifference, at 36%, followed by anxiety at 20% and pressure at 11%.

Our findings tell us that the pandemic has really affected how people feel towards the holiday season this year, and unfortunately, for the worst. For this reason, retailers will need to work hard to soothe any concerns or worries that people have around the holiday season this year.

Are people buying gifts for themselves?

60% of people surveyed purchased a gift for themselves this year

And finally, one of the biggest trends for this year is the rise in self-gifting. Self-gifting, as you may have guessed, is when someone buys a gift for themselves. We’re sure we’re all guilty of this one!

In our survey 60% of people bought themselves a gift this year, something that looks likely to continue into the Christmas period.

Summary of findings

It’s clear that the pandemic has caused big changes to how we give gifts this year, and we have no doubt that it will affect online shopping in the new year too.

We’ve summed up below exactly what we’ve found out:

  • 62% of people surveyed said that their gifting habits have changed due to Coronavirus
  • The most popular types of gifts have changed this year from last year
  • 57% of people are planning to do their shopping online this year
  • 28% of people are planning to spend less money on gifts this year because of Coronavirus
  • People want to make others happy when gifting
  • The majority of people have a negative opinion towards Christmas this year
  • 60% of people are self gifting this year

Are you struggling to find the perfect gift this Christmas? Take a look at our gifting section here.

Ben Lavers