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The Impact of Covid-19 on Seasonal Gift-giving

Friday, 26 March 2021

More than just an egg-citing time of year for chocolate-lovers, Easter brings a welcome break for everyone as we move nearer the summer months – with what we hope to be the end of the pandemic in sight. 

But this year, it seems the general public have decided that Easter eggs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. In fact, our latest research shows that Google searches for ‘Easter gifts’ saw a 135% increase in 2020 compared to 2019. Searches for ‘Easter eggs’ were only up 98% year-on-year. 

The latest data shows that Google saw over 33,000 thousand searches for ‘Easter gifts’ in February 2021. From themed hampers to personalised homeware, the demand and interest for Easter gifts may continue to change over the coming years, but what impact will this have on Easter egg sales? 

Despite the clear interest in sending a present to celebrate Easter, chocolate eggs remain the nation’s top choice with over 130,000 Google searches performed for them nationwide in 2020. The latest data shows 165,000 searches were carried out in February alone this year; more than the whole of 2020 combined. 

Many people have resorted to sending gifts from afar during the pandemic, as opposed to handing them over face-to-face. Royal Mail reportedly delivered 496 million parcels during the last three months of 2020, 30% more than the same period in 2019. It’s likely that we will see a similar trend this Easter with many still unable to meet their loved ones in person. 

The fragile nature of Easter eggs could be another reason for alternative Easter gifts’ increased popularity; without safe and secure packing, a thin chocolate shell may not remain intact when journeying from one end of the country to another! 

We used Google search data to investigate the evolution of gift-giving over the past 4 years, and what impact the pandemic has had on Brits’ inclination to give presents for events you may not traditionally associate with gifting. 

To do this, we collected the total search volume over each calendar year for the terms ‘Valentine’s gifts’, ‘Easter gifts’, ‘Halloween gifts’, and ‘Christmas gifts’Our findings showed that interest in gifts for all four events increased by at least 18% during the pandemic: 

Graph and table showing data on the impact of Covid-19 on seasonal gift-giving

For Easter and Halloween in particular, this could be an apt replacement for when you’re unable to hold parties – replacing apple bobbing with a spooky hamper isn’t quite the same, but still lets your family and friends know you’re thinking of them. Both events saw gifting interest more than double, with ‘Halloween gifts’ experiencing a huge 189% increase in 2020. 

Valentine’s is the only event for which gifting interest declined between 2018 and 2020, with a 7% decrease in Google searches over the two-year period. Perhaps people are moving towards the belief that love isn’t shown with presents, but by your words and actions. If only somebody had given these celebs the memo! 

Having said that, the pandemic appears to have rectified this lapse in interest, with 201,000 searches for ‘Valentine’s gifts’ in February this year – 90,000 more than in 2020, just one month before the UK went into the first national lockdown. 

It’s no surprise that searches for ‘Christmas gifts’ have gone from strength to strength each year. Given the restrictions on retail shopping in the lead up to Christmas, many Brits will have taken to online marketplaces such as Etsy to find unique and thoughtful presents in 2020. 

The pandemic appears to have had the biggest impact on Halloween and Easter – the two holidays you wouldn’t view as traditional gift-giving events. Whilst this trend may not continue after all restrictions are lifted, the increased availability and variety of gift options that have come to fruition online during the past year could well mean that people continue to send themed gifts all year round. 

Methodology: 

We used Google Keyword Planner to collect the average monthly search volume from March 2017 to February 2021 for the keywords ‘Easter gifts’, ‘Easter eggs’, ‘Valentine’s gifts’, ‘Christmas gifts’, and ‘Halloween gifts’. To find the average total number of searches for each keyword per year, we added together the average monthly figures for each year. 

We calculated the percentage change per calendar year for each search term using the following equation: 

(New number – Old number) 

———————————————–               X 100 

                Old number 

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