IT’s Christmas (and Data) Time

The holiday season of 2020 has definitely changed for both businesses and consumers. With the COVID-19 pandemic, most shoppers choose to buy online, prompting retailers to provide e-commerce services.

With Christmas just around the corner, I am sure you are all running around buying and wrapping gifts… or not (like me waiting for Christmas eve). To celebrate the most wonderful time of the year and because we are passionate about data and Christmas, here are some facts and statistics about Christmas.

1. Roads? Santa doesn’t need roads

It has been calculated that to successfully visit every home in the world on Christmas Eve, Santa would need to travel at approximately 2,340,000 mph. Of course, we could help Santa with some customer segmentation and know exactly which homes are on his ‘good’ list.


2. No time for diet

We all agree there is always a lot of food, the amount of what we eat and waste is absurd. During this popular holiday season, there were almost 270,000 tons of food waste in the UK alone. This year, calculate exactly how much food will be needed, and adapt any recipes accordingly, or give it away to your neighbour our local shelter can help save food and spread some cheer.


3. Last-minute presents

If you wait until the 24th to get yours, you will most likely leave the store disappointed. But stores and suppliers can use our AI-based inventory optimisation solution to keep the inventory of certain products at the right level at the right time of the year.

4. Christmas marketing machine

£6,000,000,000 is the incredible amount that British brands are expected to spend on holiday advertising and marketing this year. Of course, a data-driven solution can help you invest more wisely, and create more personalised marketing campaigns to encourage sales and promote conversions.


Data solutions can help you provide customer retention solutions and predict customer churn, enabling you to take preventive measures to keep them for longer – such as providing discount codes. With competition in retail being so competitive these days, your business will need all the advantages. Knowing the demographics of Christmas shoppers can give you an edge, for example.

5. “It’s lovely…did you keep the receipt?”

We all have the perfect fake reaction of gratitude to those oh-so-underwhelming presents. Statistics show that one in five unwanted presents will be passed to others as gifts. 15% of Europeans get gifts they don’t like. 1 in 10 people returns their gifts to the store, and another 10% claim they don’t even remember what they got for Christmas. Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise us that about 14% of people sell their gifts. $15.2 billion is the estimated total of unwanted presents. (WEF & Finder)

Well, using data and predictive analytics, you can make well-informed decisions on gift-giving.

When it comes to unwanted gifts, friends are the worst Christmas shoppers. (Finder) 23% of people flag their friends as the source of unwanted gifts. In-laws take second place on the list with 14%, and parents come third with 7%.


Generation X seem to receive the worst gifts when it comes to age, with 44% of them disliking what they receive. However, Christmas spending facts show Gen Xers also spend the most ($121.90) on unwanted gifts.

It’s the thought that counts, right?

6. A time for giving… and spending

Christmas is great, but it is not the cheapest time of year. 81.5% of people will dip into their savings to pay for some (or all) of their gifts this festive season. 10% of Europeans go into debt due to Christmas shopping, but Christmas spending facts show they cannot surpass Americans (21.5%). The British spend 40% more than other European consumers (WEF).


Men shop just as much as women, but men tend to spend more, with an average spend of over $725 for men and $609 for women in the US and over £410 for men and £373 for women in the UK. (MuchNeeded, 2021) Millennials have the second-highest holiday spending: $609 in the US and £416 in the UK. (MuchNeeded, 2021)

Besides Millennials, who love to spend their money on technology, Gen X (43%) and Baby Boomers (33%) are also keen to get debt due to holiday expenses. The statistics also show that people already in debt are willing to do the same. It varies from country to country. For example, in Luxembourg and the Netherlands merely 3% and 5%, respectively. The truth is that 40% of Europeans feel pressured to spend more money than they usually do.

7. Good things come to those who buy early

Statistics show that most consumers shop early. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the shopping season seems to come earlier than ever, as many retailers offer earlier sales. (Forbes, 2020). many of them now prefer to shop online to avoid the risk of being infected with the virus. Therefore, companies that want to keep up are forced to build online stores to cater to their customers.

The clock is ticking, but most people start Christmas shopping on the 13th. According to DHL, this is the busiest day for gift shopping, with the number of packages at their service points up by as much as 99% some years. And, there is no Santa or elves here, so to help optimise delivery times data and AI could help here.


Women spend an average of 20 hours shopping for Christmas presents. (WEF) On the other hand, men spend only half of their time shopping. According to Christmas spending statistics, over three hours of that time is spent waiting in line, another three hours are spent on wrapping gifts. Plus, after the holidays, people spend an hour taking gifts they don't like back to the store.

8. Flying off the shelves

There is no doubt that online shopping makes Christmas life easier. However, it also makes us lazier! If you didn't buy your presents yet, good luck – Amazon received 47 orders per second on their busiest day last Christmas!


44% of all presents were expected to be purchased online. 10% of Hungarians planned to buy (nearly) all of their Christmas presents online. (Statista) Millennials are more likely to spend more than half of their holiday shopping online. 81% of American adults aged 26 to 30 were more likely to shop this way, as well as 82% of American adults aged 31 to 38. (eMarketer, 2020) Baby boomers are more likely to shop at stores (24%) and national chains (27%) than other generations. (NPD, 2019)


Online shopping statistics also indicate that e-commerce is becoming increasingly popular, as confirmed by research on Christmas shopping habits. There is even more reason to ensure that your online store is in its best condition during the holidays. One way to do that is to evaluate your website’s performance against KPIs like SEO and UX. This way, you can be sure that customers can find your website and enjoy a smooth and secure shopping experience.

9. Need a hand, Santa?

Playstations, laptops, bikes, skates, those massive selection boxes full of chocolate – they’re not the lightest things in the world. According to statistics, Santa’s sleigh would weigh around 354,430 tonnes on Christmas Eve due to the number of houses he has to deliver to. With that many presents to organise, it sounds like Santa could do with some help with warehouse optimisation.

10. All I want for Christmas is…

Christmas songs, love them or hate them, it is unavoidable. Statistics show that the big three – ‘Last Christmas’, ‘Fairytale of New York’ and ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ – will be aired 404,000,000 times across UK radio over the festive period. If you want a new Christmas song, check here the world's First AI-generated Christmas Song.


And don't forget the Christmas movies, there is no Christmas without the “Home Alone” movie.

It's Christmas, spend some more time with friends and family, and most important of all — enjoy yourself and stay safe! And next year, use predictive analytics to decide on the perfect presents and plan well in advance!



Ps- Hey Santa, even you have to play by the rules, and having a list of everyone on the planet is a direct violation of GDPR guidelines.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.



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by Tânia Espinheira

Design & Marketing Manager @Passio Consulting




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