Giving presents at Christmas should bring joy, but first of all, choosing the right gifts is difficult.
It's always like that.
But in the Corona year 2020, selecting acclaimed presents requires far more goodwill, information and imagination than usual.
Germany's most popular solution for embarrassment under the Christmas tree, the voucher, has passed its zenith after years of ascent, as the Society for Consumer Research (GfK) found out.
More than half of consumers largely want to forego it.
The anticipation is generally clouded.
This is also shown by the current survey “Christmas presents 2020” by the consulting company EY.
At least 70 percent of the around 1000 consumers surveyed in November said that their mood was gone in view of the corona-related restrictions on shopping in the city centers and the canceled Christmas markets.
The carefree shopping spree, which is so important for stationary retail, is therefore out of the question these days.
"We have noticed that German citizens are currently shopping in a much more targeted manner and are also trying to concentrate their shopping in as few shops as possible," says Ev Bangemann, Head of Retail and Consumer Goods at EY.
In previous years, at least 40 percent of German citizens had stated that pre-Christmas events and Christmas markets were an additional reason for a shopping spree.
Instead, people buy online.
After record numbers at the “Black Weekend” at the end of November, they are now starting “what is probably the strongest online Christmas business of all time,” said Otto - and is hiring an additional 200 new employees.
Source: WORLD infographic
According to the EY survey, the proportion of German citizens who prefer to shop at stationary retailers has fallen from 54 percent in the previous year to just 42 percent now.
At the same time, the proportion of consumers who prefer to order online has risen from 17 to 28 percent.
And that's just an average.
Basically, the younger the consumer, the higher the online share.
In the group of people under 45, the majority have long preferred to buy online.
For Christmas shopping 2020, consumer advocates are strongly recommending than ever to place orders early.
EY consumption experts have also registered the end of the voucher boom.
According to their study, the budget for this will be reduced from an average of 69 to 58 euros per person this year.
The use of plastic cards as a convenient way out of presents for relatives and friends who actually already have everything is simply not an option this fall.
Source: WORLD infographic
Vouchers for services are usually popular, but exchanging them with the provider is a game of chance given the uncertainty about the period in which the epidemic can be expected to abate.
According to the GfK results, 63 percent of consumers do not want to give away travel vouchers this year, 58 percent ignore restaurant vouchers and 55 percent do without vouchers from cosmetics or fitness studios.
“Travel restrictions and the closure of restaurants and leisure facilities are once again showing their effect,” says GfK expert Petra Süptitz.
A redirection of the flow of money to vouchers and gift cards from online providers can sometimes be observed.
We are seeing growth rates of 20 to 50 percent, ”said a spokesman for Otto.de.
In contrast, the Federal Association of E-Commerce and Mail Order (bevh) said that large rates of increase were not generally recognizable.
Source: WORLD infographic
Vouchers have become the most popular gift category in the past few years.
According to the German Retail Association (HDE), total sales in the run-up to Christmas 2019 were around three billion euros - a figure that may never be reached again.
Nevertheless, practical problem solvers are likely to continue to play an important role in the gift range in the future, albeit at a lower level.
Toys and books are crisis winners
There are also clear shifts in the type of specific gifts: According to EY, just a third of the previous year's figure is planned for travel and, above all, for events.
On the other hand, the winners of the crisis in the Christmas business are toys, books, clothing and jewelry, each of which has a budget share of over 20 percent.
Cash remains a top present: 59 percent of German citizens want to put an envelope under the Christmas tree.
According to GfK, the fact that the epidemic more or less forced them to withdraw into their own homes is also shaping the selection of presents this year.
Not least, more sophisticated supermarkets and delicatessens should benefit from this.
The trend towards fine cooking with high-quality and carefully selected ingredients is clearly reflected, according to the Nuremberg consumer watchers.
Food and drinks, also in the form of wine and gift baskets, are also high on the shopping lists.
Among the younger consumers (up to 29 years of age) who are above average willing to spend this year, entertainment electronics occupy the top position on the wish lists.
The bottom line is that EY sees an average gift budget of EUR 281 among adult consumers, while GfK comes to EUR 330 per person.
The spread of the values is due to different methodological approaches.
One thing is certain: Despite the gloomy mood, the German citizens remain generous at the festival.
According to EY, the planned spending on gifts in Germany adds up to 18.4 billion euros.