‘Tis the season to be jolly, yet consumers in Scotland often find themselves wrapped in guilt for all of the things they feel obligated to do to avoid displeasing friends, family and even colleagues and neighbours.
The new study from TopCashback.co.uk, the UK’s most generous cashback shopping site, finds that for more than two-fifths (43 per cent) of consumers feeling guilty is a key factor when making festive purchases.
The feeling of remorse does not come cheap though, with Scots spending a staggering £103 on gifts, cards and food in a bid to keep everyone else happy.
Nearly half (48 per cent) of consumers in Scotland visit family and friends they would not normally just because it is Christmas and a third (33 per cent) stock up on foods that cater to guests’ tastes rather than their own. In further efforts to please others, around a fifth (19 per cent) even invite people for dinner that they do not particularly want to see.
When it comes to giving, it may be the thought that counts but the majority (91 per cent) of unsuspecting consumers say they feel mortified when they have nothing to give someone who has bought them a present. This feeling drives nearly half (48 per cent) of consumers in Scotland to stock up on little trinkets and cards just in case. Similarly, a third (33 per cent) pay for more expensive items due to receiving something pricey the year before.
However, conscience-stricken Scots may not be far off the mark with 61 per cent harbouring upset feelings if they have picked up a gift for someone and have not received something back.
Of those who are surprised by a gift from someone they have not bought for, 59 per cent use the excuse that it has not arrived yet. Other explanations include a forgetful memory (46 per cent) and promising to drop it round at a later date (44 per cent). Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) stall by claiming they have been unorganised with their wrapping and six per cent use the classic “it was lost in the post”.
Natasha Rachel Smith, Consumers Affairs Editor for TopCashback.co.uk, said: “It is a costly time of year for most people and our research reveals there is an added expense of guilt-buying which can see spending soar.
“It is easy to get carried away and overspend especially in the lead up to the festive season. However, planning for Christmas in advance and stocking up on small trinkets throughout the year can help ease the cost of last-minute purchases. Using discounts, voucher codes and cashback sites throughout the year and for festive shopping, can also help reduce costs.”