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Christmas Shopping on Hold for 9 out of 10 People Say Klarna

New research from Klarna shows that the vast majority of people (89%) have not yet completed their shopping for Christmas 2020. The results are based on a survey of over 2,000 Klarna users, collected from 17th-23rd November.  

As 2020 draws to a close, Klarna found that this Christmas, people are more focussed on the gifts that they give to loved ones. 16% said they plan to spend more on Christmas shopping this year, perhaps after saving money by commuting, going out and eating out less in 2020. Just under a third (31%) intend to spend the same amount as always, and 43% said they are limiting their spending, showing the importance of financial planning and control this festive period, and proving regardless of personal budgets it is important for everyone to ‘Shop Savvy this Christmas’.

Asked how their Christmas shopping is going, almost two thirds (64%) of respondents said that they have made a start but still have some way to go. For the more organised among us, 11% said they are “done and dusted” while a quarter (25%) are yet to even start.

Online shopping exploded in 2020. While stores shut their doors during lockdown, shoppers were forced to consider an alternative to a day on the high street. Whilst tech-native Millennials (24-39) and Gen Zs (18-23) have long embraced e-commerce, Gen X has been driving growth since lockdown came into effect. However, a third of people (33%) still have concerns about shopping for gifts online.

Of those worried, 45% are concerned about the quality of the goods they receive, showing the importance of being able to “try before you buy” even when shopping from home, and in the instance that what they receive is different to what they expected 40% are worried about the returns process. Delivery is another worry, as 54% are concerned about the item arriving on time, or at all, and 25% worry generally about customer service. 26% fret over whether they are receiving the best price, showing the advantage of price drop alerts, and 16% are worried about the security of shopping online.

Two fifths (41%) of respondents confirmed they plan to give some handmade gifts this year – perhaps after picking up a new hobby or craft in lockdown during 2020 – but the overwhelming majority (96%) still plan to buy products as presents for others. Less than a fifth (18%) are gifting activities, and just under a quarter (24%) are opting for vouchers, suggesting they are unsure of what to buy, and unwilling to chance guessing.

Most people plan to spread their search for these products across a number of different retailers. 58% said they plan to shop at small independent stores. With news of the reopening of non-essential retail just on time for Christmas hot off the press, 76% said they plan to shop from high street brands. Most will do at least some shopping from the comfort of their home, as 73% plan to purchase presents at online-only retailers.

Encouragingly 47% of respondents said that they love everything they receive, but as evidence of the risk in guessing, 8% said they either never receive what they would like for Christmas, or that they often don’t get things they like. Whilst we associate letters to Santa with childhood, to avoid receiving unwanted gifts or managing returns, more and more people are creating Christmas wish lists. Half of respondents (54%) make a list of the gifts they need to buy for other people, and most (52%) simply ask people what they would like, so by doing so, the decision process could be made even smooother, especially given 72% already look online for some inspiration. 

The survey asked respondents about the best and the strangest Christmas gifts they ever received, producing some heartwarming and shocking results. Among the best gifts, a recurring answer was the gift of ‘family’, as many people recalled welcoming a new arrival in December, or commented on seeing family during the holiday season. Fashion fanatics fondly remembered getting an item of clothing or an accessory that had been lusting after, from bags, to jewellery, to winter coats. Technology products were popular among the gadget lovers, ranging from the Playstation 4, to a Polaroid camera, an iPhone and an Alexa. The strangest gifts people were given were not so warmly received. Among the responses was an egg, a curry, a “husband’s attempt” at sexy lingerie, and a cheating ex!

AJ Coyne, Head of UK Consumer Marketing at Klarna said: It’s been a tough year for everyone, marked by uncertainty, and one in which people have spent limited time enjoying the company of their friends and family. This Christmas, it makes sense that we want to treat our loved ones to a gift they truly want. In conjunction with lockdown coming to an end, retail analysts are anticipating a surge in spending over the coming weeks.”


  • Gina is a fintech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

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