£652 million Wasted on Unwanted Presents this Christmas

- eBay braces itself for surge of listings as 366,000 Brits plan to sell unwanted gifts on Christmas day -

Research released by eBay and TNS has found that £652 million was spent by British shoppers on unwanted Christmas presents last year – equivalent to £16.38 per person. The research also reveals that of the 10 gifts the average person received at Christmas, at least one was left unloved under the tree.

Almost a quarter* of those aged 16-34 say they usually ‘re-home’ unwanted gifts by selling them, and 366,000 of all Brits who do this usually start selling their discarded presents on Christmas Day itself, with a further 183,000 selling items on Boxing Day.

3/4 of those that do sell their unwanted gifts on Christmas Day have already done so by lunchtime, with listings hitting a peak at 10am, just after most presents have been opened. Women may find themselves peeling the spuds alone this year, as men are twice as likely as women to take to the internet and list their unwanted gifts on Christmas day.

Other findings show:

  • The most wanted presents Brits hope to find under the tree this year are: clothes, shoes and accessories
  • The least wanted presents Brits will be leaving under the tree this year are: power tools and DIY equipment
  • Those most guilty of buying unwanted gifts are; Uncles, Aunts and in-laws
  • A fifth of Brits (22%) recycle unwanted presents by giving them to someone else as a gift
  • 13% of Brits claim unwanted gifts are the worst part of Christmas, only closely beaten by the stress of Christmas shopping (14%)

eBay spokesperson Ruth Szyszkowski said, “We all know how it feels to open a turkey of a gift at Christmas. The good news is that offers a chance to upgrade an unwanted gift by selling it to buy something you really want or to just make a bit of money back after the costly Christmas period. Listing items on eBay has never been easier – sellers can now download the eBay selling app for free, which allows you to list items in just 60 seconds using new barcode scanning technology”

Those looking to sell their unwanted gifts this Christmas can use eBay’s top tips for selling:

  1. Timing is key. Have a think about the best times to list – listings that end in the middle of the night will be seen by less people
  2. Start at a low price. If you keep your start price at 99p then it’s free to list, and you’ll attract more buyers
  3. The title is vital. The first thing that buyers see is the item title. You only have 55 characters to get their attention, so make them count. Include details like size.
  4. Retail with detail. Make sure you include all available information when you’re describing your item and use good, clear pictures. Also, make sure you’re on hand after the sale to provide great customer service. This will ensure positive Feedback and a great experience for both you and your buyer.

Generic Christmas Shopping:

  • Brits will spend an average of £258 on gifts for others this year
  • 25% of the population are planning to spend over £400
  • The average person intends to buy 10 x gifts
  • Over 75% of Brits will do their shopping online this year
  • Key factors for Brits choosing online shopping are:
    • Avoiding the high street crowds
    • Having 24- hour access to shops
    • Finding bargains and deals

Average selling prices for our least-wanted Christmas gift items:

Unwanted Gift

Average Sale Price



DIY Tools


Experience Days


Kitchen Appliances


For further information, interviews with an eBay spokesperson, or photography please contact Shine Communications on 0207 100 7100:

Poppy Lewis:

Rachel Byrne:

Hollie Adamson:

Notes to Editors:

Boiler plate

  • Founded in 1999, is the UK’s number 1 e-commerce site, providing a platform for over 17.7m unique visitors per month (Nielsen / Netratings, September 2009) to buy and sell new, unique and used items in a fun and easy way
  • Far from an online auction house, eBay currently has 17 million live listings on the UK site, with fixed price goods accounting for the majority (56%) of items sold globally
  • Sellers of all sizes, including 120,000 registered businesses and 20 high-street retailers use to reach the UK’s largest online shopping audience
  • eBay supports buyers and sellers by promoting the best value deals through Daily Deals, and the eBay Outlet sells products from well known brands at up to 70% off the recommended retail price. Follow for alerts to great deals on eBay and beyond
  • eBay campaigns on the issues affecting buyers and sellers in a number of ways, including the eBay Online Business Index and consumer choice campaigns as featured on is owned by eBay Inc, which has expanded to include some of the strongest brands in the world, including eBay, PayPal, StubHub,, and others