This year, shoppers have been urged to buy Christmas gifts early or risk losing out due to the excessive demand expected to hit online retailers. With COVID-19 causing recent trends in panic buying and fears of big shopping crowds, it comes as no surprise that many shoppers are expected to skip the high street stores when buying gifts this year. Whilst some feel that present buying is nowhere near the forefront of their worries, the psychology of gift-giving is complex and the process may actually help those struggling to feel connected to their loved ones.

Lots of people think gift-giving has become too materialistic but the giving of gifts may be one of the oldest human activities used to enhance interpersonal relationships, showing love and demonstrating status for centuries. From the ceremonial Potlatch of the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of Canada to the practical jokers of ancient Rome, gifting has played an important role in most societies.

Gift giving is important and is a way of maintaining and building relationships, not just as Christmas. In a previous post, we spoke about the importance of gifting in romantic relationships. Buying a loved one a gift is an opportunity to service the relationship, it encourages you to spend time thinking about your partner and the things they would like. The receiver then evaluates the gift as an insight into how well the gift giver knows them; whether it is accurate or not speaks to the level of intimacy. Our previous post speaks about how 18% of people consider gift-giving to be their primary love language, how they express and experience love.

However, maintaining non-romantic relationships can be just as important in combatting social isolation, especially during these times where it is more difficult to see people. Giving a gift sends a signal - the recipients on your gift list tells you who is important in your life. Even though social distancing restrictions have made it more difficult to see loved ones in person, sending a gift can help bridge some of the physical and emotional distance people are experiencing.

Thankfully, we are now able to send gifts without even leaving the house and there are lots of technologies available to help with some of the issues that arise with online retail. Many shoppers find it difficult to browse a huge range of products without the help of a sales assistant, particularly when buying products they are not familiar with. Luckily, digital shopping assistants and gift finders can help in these situations.

Using intelligent algorithms and psychological insight, software like BOON’s can do the browsing for you in a quicker and more enjoyable way. There’s no need to combat the crowds, shoppers can find the perfect gift from the comfort of their home. All they need to do is answer some fun questions about who they are buying for and any ideas they have in mind and the perfect Christmas gift is chosen.