Trends and Data

Half A Billion Dollars Wasted on Christmas Gifts

Press Release

While a record number of shoppers headed online for Christmas bargains this year, Australians are now stumped with what to do with over 16.7 million unwanted gifts that were received by disappointed friends and family, valued at over $500 million dollars.

Research[1], carried out by eBay and Gumtree, revealed over half (56%) of Australians received at least one unwanted gift and almost a third will be using online sites to help pay off some of their own Christmas debt by selling the unwanted presents. Two thirds of Aussies will use the extra funds to pay off bills or boost their savings.

The results also found a fascinating gender divide with men more likely to sell gifts online for cash and women far more likely to re-gift their unwanted presents.

Sandy Culkoff, eBay spokesperson, commented these gifts need not go to waste: “Australians shopped up a storm this Christmas but they didn’t always get it right, with duplicate presents, wrong sizes and presents that were simply bought in bad taste.

eBay is a great way to sell those unwanted presents where the average Australian can make up to $100 per gift – a helpful boost after the traditionally expensive holiday period. With almost 17 million presents up for grabs, there will be something for everyone!”

Gumtree spokesperson Nat Thomas said online sites are the easiest way to shift unwanted gifts. “Gumtree has over 1.6 million Australians visiting each month buying products in over 100 categories. Larger items such as home and garden furniture, sporting equipment, surfboards and BBQ’s are especially easy to sell as they are hard to send in the post. Gumtree allows people to find items locally, meaning you can inspect the product in person and pay on the spot.”

The eBay and Gumtree research revealed that:

  • More than half the population (56%) received at least one unwanted gift this Christmas.
  • 29% of Australians have used an online site such as eBay or Gumtree to sell unwanted gifts.
  • While 14% have sold an item for $100 or more, the average price for the sale of an unwanted gift is $64.
  • People spend the money raised from selling unwanted gifts on themselves, (with 46% opting to buy something else and 23% buy themselves a treat), 33% pay bills and 33% save the proceeds.
  • Some of the stranger gifts that were not especially well received include:

o  a handmade sock monkey
o  an arm wrestling kit
o  an eye massager
o  a 3D figure of the male urinary system
o  Gnome shaped toilet roll holder
o  a dancing chicken
o  worm castings
o  a book about torture
o  a life sized resin dog
o  farting salt and pepper shakers
o  a doll that makes sexist comments

  • The most common outcome for unwanted gifts is to let them languish in a cupboard collecting dust (41%), while 19% admit to re-gifting them.

Tips for Maximising Online Selling

  • Decide on the format, do you want to sell on eBay or Gumtree? If it’s an item that is easy to pop in the post, use eBay. If it’s a large and bulky item that is too hard to send in the mail, use Gumtree
  • Make your listing visual; include multiple photos of the item to really increase the chances of selling – people like to see what they are buying upfront.
  • Be descriptive; giving an accurate description of what you’re selling will really help people who may want to buy from you.
  • Set a fair price – people are looking for good quality items that are selling at a fair price. You’ll find you sell much quicker if the price is right!

[1] Study conducted online by Galaxy Research amongst 1,265 respondents aged 18-64 years in November 2011