A Christmas Shopper’s Guide to Procurement Excellence

We're delighted to bring you another Christmas-themed post: Daniel Ball, director at Wax Digital shares a few lessons Christmas shoppers could learn from the procurement profession.

Anyone opening another box of hankies on the 25th from great aunt Enid probably won’t be too surprised to learn that Christmas shoppers are getting their festive purchasing all wrong, as it’s revealed that Brits are set to waste over £1 billion* buying unwanted Christmas gifts this year.

Yes, it would seem Christmas shoppers could do with a few lesson in procurement as a survey we have recently carried out reveals some interesting facts on how many of us are clearly quite bad at buying for others.

The Great Christmas Gift-Away survey shows that once Christmas is done and dusted, close to two-thirds of the UK population will either give away, sell on or re-gift their unwanted presents.

Colleagues, aunties, uncles and neighbours top the list of poor gift givers. The survey suggests that women are more enterprising with 70% willing to sell or pass on presents compared to only 48% of men who are typically more loyal recipients.

The top two reasons people get rid of their gifts are because they already have the item (69%) or have no need for it (65%) suggesting many gift-givers are not really thinking about who they are buying for.

The top three Gift-Aways are toys (by 69%), toiletries (by 55%) and clothes (by 52%) which suggests that parents may use the opportunity to get rid of some of their children’s toys than their own presents.

26% will sell on Christmas gifts for cash, most commonly through online auctions such as eBay, used by 48%. Other online selling sites and then word-of-mouth or selling to someone they know are the next most popular Gift-Away methods. 37% re-gift, or give the gift as a present to someone else, while 50% pass on gifts for free in other ways, for example swapping or donating to a charity shop.

There are a number of lessons the procurement profession could teach Christmas shoppers to help them spend their money more wisely this year and buy their friends and family presents they actually want:

  1. Plan – An important starting point when deciding on any form of purchase, preventing those aimless last-minutes dashes forcing shoppers to panic buy.
  2. It’s not all about the price – Spending a fortune on something that the recipient doesn’t actually want or need is a waste of hard-earned cash. Do your research and spend wisely.
  3. Know your key suppliers – You’ve done your planning, so now it’s time to understand where to source the gift! Who’s got it in stock? How and when can I get it?
  4. Secure best price – Supplier negotiation clearly doesn’t apply here, but you should definitely shop around and find what you’re looking for at best price. Don’t forget loyalty points too. If the item is the same price at two different outlets and you’ve got a loyalty card for one, if makes sense buy it from there.
  5. Learn from the process - Your nephew didn’t like the brand of aftershave you got him for Christmas last year, so find out what brands he does like or what he needs. Also last year you discovered too late that your favourite online supplier can’t guarantee delivery by the big day, so this year, get your order in early or compare a number of suppliers.

This research was carried out by ICM in November 2014 across a sample of 2000 adults in the UK.

*Figure calculated on the basis of 59% of survey sample admitting to passing on presents, representing 37.76m people, multiplied by the average cost of a present £29.81 and assuming each person will pass on one present. 37.76m c £29.81 x 1 = Total mis-spent = £1,125,625,600.

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