Study reveals that shoppers across Europe value thoughtful, personal gifts above all else

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WATERLOO, Belgium – 1 December 2014 – The key tomaximising revenue in 2015 might be dialling up a customers’ choice of gifts with a personal touch, especially during gifting seasons. So says a study commissioned by MasterCard on consumers’ seasonal spending habits revealing gifts that can be personalised (46%) and gifts with personal meaning behind them (44%) are what people both prefer to give and receive from loved ones.

The European wide study of over 15,000 consumers across 17 countries unearths perceptions of gifting amid a climate of consumerism and the day-to-day demands of people’s time. The findings perhaps also reflect the continued economic pressures across Europe that people feel personally. The study underlined that in these times, thoughtfulness is what matters most to customers: understanding what people really want (87%) and being thoughtful (86%) are people’s top priorities when it comes to gifting.

Adding to the emphasis placed on thoughtfulness, the study highlighted that nearly a third of Europeans think giving cash as a gift is offensive, although one in ten still admit to having done so. One excuse recipients of a cash gift have given is that their loved ones didn’t know what to buy (45%). This presents an opportunity to retailers who could help these shoppers spend more thoughtfully, thus ensuring the revenue does not bypass their store as it would with a cash gift.

The study also revealed that most (78%) like to shop for gifts a week in advance, or even earlier. However, when it comes to last minute shopping, it is men (34%) that are more likely to leave it until the last minute than women (27%).

Commenting on the findings, Javier Perez, President of MasterCard Europe said: “With personalisation and thoughtfulness being the clear trend when it comes to gifting, we think these insights will be revealing for retailers as they look to maximise opportunities for 2015. MasterCard has always looked to provide retailers around the world with insights and solutions that will drive growth. With this study and other data including The Digital Sharing and Trust Study, exploring what consumers go online to accomplish, SpendingPulse™, which tracks retail sales across markets and the annual Global Destination Cities Index, MasterCard is able to provide retailers with the intelligence to help plan for tomorrow.”

The results highlighted that age plays a role in Europeans gifting habits. Customers aged 55 and over (55%) are more than twice as likely as customers aged between 18 and 34 (7%) to simply give cash as a gift. That said, those aged 55 and over are almost just as likely to put thought into the right gift for a loved one (23%), compared to 18-34 year olds (26%), showing that thoughtful gifting is a universal approach.

The study also gives insights into the varying attitudes of consumers across Europe. Notable findings include;

o   Nearly two in three (66%) Europeans will pay using card when shopping in-store

o   When shopping online, consumers tend to favour using credit card (39%) or debit card (25%). Greece (60%) shoppers are the most last minute, waiting until only the last week before they start planning their festive shopping

o   Britain is the best at planning ahead with almost 40% starting their shopping with a month to go

o   While almost 90% of consumers in Sweden and France pay in-store using card

In addition to cash, other gifts deemed the most thoughtless by Europeans – and which retailers may want to avoid positioning as perfect presents – included a pet goldfish (52%), household appliances (35%), bed linen (26%) and bath products (26%).

Notes to editors

The research was conducted by Toluna across 17 countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary and Romania. 15,129 consumers were polled between October 1st and 15th, 2014.

About MasterCard
MasterCard (NYSE: MA),,is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Pioneers Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.


Corinne Raes +32 498 58 5237

Bénédicte Stievenart +32 498 58 5019