In today’s world where our physical social interactions have been restricted, we are searching out ways to demonstrate our ‘love’ for our nearest and dearest. As such, the act of giving a gift has never meant so much.

This is because gifting isn’t just about the gift itself but the wider human interaction surrounding the gift. It allows us to show our appreciation and gratitude for the relationships we have. This is why the UK spends so much on gifting for others (£3.3 billion a year¹). This huge market has evolved to not only being driven by the tradition of gifting at key milestones such as Christmas, birthdays or anniversaries, But gifting to celebrate the small moments or the ‘just because’ moments. These moments have created more opportunities for people to demonstrate the importance of the relationships they have, especially those relationships where we can’t always be there in person.

This is particularly pertinent right now when much of our physical social interactions have been removed, so we are seeking out methods to compensate from the lack of physical contact. It is therefore predicted that the upcoming events of Father Day’s along with the 22m UK birthdays due before July² will see consumers increasing the amount they spend this year. But also looking to add a thoughtful touch to the gift, whether that is playing into the trend of experiences over stuff such as ‘sunny day gifts’ (when a gift is purchased with the intention of using it at a later date) or personalisation of a physical gift.

Another area of gifting is self-gifting, a trend which has grown over the last few years. The idea that you don’t need to wait for someone else to buy you a present but rather, “treat yo’self”. Whether that is a one-off purchase or a subscription box (26% of Britons say they buy a subscription box as a pick-me-up³ and this market is expected to grow 72% by 2022 to £1 billion4) the UK are buying into the culture of self-care.

The culture of self-care is now more important than ever. Whilst UK disposable income is under pressure and almost two in five (37%) believe they will be spending less overall5, there is an appetite for small indulgences. A phenomenon known as the ‘lipstick effect,’ a way to boost mood during these uncertain times. Whether it is a new lipstick or ‘quarantire’ (searches for ‘grey joggers’ up 35% since Jan 20206) or hammocks (up 1,292% YoY7) or purchasing digital content and subscriptions (spend increased by 17.4%8) consumers are seeking out cheap thrills.

As the coming months unfold, consumers will continue to seek out gifts for their loved ones to acknowledge the moments they are missing. Personalisation will be key for these gifts to help consumers showcase how much these relationships mean to them. Whilst self-gifting will be about using spare disposable income to provide themselves with pockets of indulgence through the small treats or upgrades on purchases they would usually make.

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