If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s how quickly things can change. One minute we’re going about our business as usual and the next, the planet is turned on its head. Whilst the impacts of Covid-19 have been sadly devastating to billions, it is also a timely reminder of what really matters to us and what ultimately, does not.
The sentiment of Christmas does appear to have been embraced a little tighter so far this year with less chatter about how early the mince pies have appeared on the shelves, and more about the importance of spending time with loved ones.
With the relatively recent advance of global purchasing power through e-commerce, we have enjoyed access to products from the likes of Wish and AliExpress at vastly cheaper prices compared to identical items found in high street stores. Shipping times for overseas gifts have increased dramatically since Covid but perhaps more significantly, there is a noticeable shift in purchasing trends in favour of supporting local businesses, rather than global chains.
We were interested to explore whether there is a lean towards buying physical or experiential gifts for our loved ones this year. Having been metaphorically slapped in the face with the reminder that life is precious, another consideration is whether potentially contributing to landfill is something to be avoided more consciously than in previous years.
Being based in Cairns, we are acutely aware that tourism has been hit hard so supporting those businesses which in turn, will have a flow-on effect to the local economy, is something we should all try to get behind where possible. The restaurant industry has also been a victim of the unexpected downturn in business so for those who can safely do so, dining out is not only a treat, but also helps keep our communities alive.
Whatever we decide to buy and how we choose to celebrate Christmas in 2020, safety is likely to be a major consideration. At the time of writing, large parts of the world are in lockdown and our loved ones may have no choice but to spend Christmas alone. Many of us have friends and family in this position so ensuring they have regular phone and Zoom calls, is vital. Our time is the most precious gift we can give after all.
Those who are just coming out of lockdown will probably be more mindful of what a good gift ‘looks’ like. For example, board games could be considered less safe than quizzes which require less physical contact (https://www.bbc.com/news/health-55107473).
Festive search trends
Google, the search powerhouse that it is, has released a top 100 trending gifts for everyone on your list, from the ‘techie’ to the ‘athlete’ to the ‘kids’. For the kids, Board Games are up 14%, with puzzles growing by 25% this year, although this is predominantly attributed to the lockdown periods. Still, it is refreshing to see a balance of toys and games in their top 100. For the Gamer, as you’d expect, the Sony PlayStation 5 is the highest trending product, although good luck finding one of those this Christmas, with many countries out of stock already.
With people spending time in doors, searches for Bakeware and Cookware rocketed by 34% this year. 2020 must have also been the year of the sweet tooth, with cotton candy making searches increasing by 42%.
Christmas trends and tastes vary in many ways. Research from money.co.uk identified the top key Christmas movies in each country by the number of online searches, and found some interesting variations. In Australia, New Zealand, England, Spain and Norway, the most searched for Christmas film is Love Actually, whereas in Canada, Scotland, Wales and South Africa, Elf is the most searched for movie. The USA goes it alone with The Nightmare Before Christmas being their most popular choice.
Not one to be outdone by Google, we did our own quick poll around the office and came up with the following as worthy of consideration for Christmas presents in 2020.
• Self-care items
• Handmade gifts
• A handwritten letter
• Locally made items such as jewellery or candles
• Tourism experiences
• Restaurant vouchers
• Music/tech vouchers
• A hotel experience
• A food subscription box
Finding a balance between enjoying the festivities and not letting our collective guards down can be challenging, particularly as our perceptions as well as geographical locations, will differ.