Stressed-out Brits will be turning to the Internet this year to ease the anxiety of Christmas shopping, according to new research (1) from Abbey Credit Cards.
Armchair shopping will soar in the lead up to Christmas with more than a third of Britons (36 per cent) carrying out the majority of their shopping online.
Festive stress is on the rise - in the last three years, the proportion of people suffering Festive Stress Disorder (2) has almost doubled. Time with the in-laws, pressure to create the perfect festive feast and a fear of choosing the wrong gifts makes Christmas a nerve-racking time for many.
Forty five per cent of people find Christmas stressful with levels rising to 51 per cent amongst 25 to 34 year olds - the age group most likely to be trying to juggle new in-laws and deal with the disappointment when Santa doesn't deliver.
Although a large proportion of people will be turning to the internet for their shopping, 13 per cent will blitz their shopping in just one shopping trip according to Abbey's study of Christmas shopping plans. The average person will make three Christmas shopping trips, spending an average of six hours and 12 minutes traipsing around the shops.
Although women traditionally shoulder much of the domestic burden of Christmas, festive stress is almost equally likely to strike the male population (43 and 47 per cent respectively). In a bid to minimise stress, men are most likely to be 'one day wonders' - almost one in five (18 per cent) will blitz shopping in one day compared to just eight per cent of women.
Other key findings
- The research found a strong correlation between stress levels and shopping plans - the most stressed age group, 25 to 34 year olds, are likely to shop online (37 per cent) and most likely to be planning to complete their Christmas shopping in just one day (19 per cent).
- Festive stress levels are highest in the Midlands. Half of all Midlanders find their anxiety levels soar in the run up to Christmas. Despite the frenetic pace of London and the South East, anxiety levels were lowest, yet still significant, in these areas (41 per cent).
- Midlalanders and Scots were most likely to be turning to the Internet to fill the stockings of their nearest and dearest - four in ten (40 per cent) were planning to shop online exclusively over the Christmas period.
Roger Lovering, Managing Director of Abbey Credit Cards, said: "Christmas is a time of the year when tiredness, overindulgence, office parties and the pressure to find that perfect gift can all heighten stress levels. Reducing tension is paramount and consequently we're seeing retailers such as supermarkets making it easier to buy everything from puddings to presents under one roof or website. We're hoping to further ease the stress for Abbey cardholders by offering five per cent cashback on all spending at most major UK supermarkets - the perfect solution for reducing stress and saving money."
(1) Omnibus research amongst 1000+ adults conducted by ICM between 2 - 4 November 2007. Calculations based on a UK adult population of 45.89 million
(2) In a study by mental health charity Mind, one in five people claimed to suffer stress during the festive season in December 2004.