Christmas gifts are increasingly being bought online – and not infrequently for the buyer himself
©Pixabay (Sujet)

The current lockdown will in all likelihood also have a strong impact on the Christmas business in retail. Many Austrians are increasingly shopping online – and not least giving presents to themselves.

The tills never ring sweeter: Online retail will again benefit greatly from the Christmas business this year – not only because of the recent lockdown caused by the pandemic, according to a current survey by the Austrian e-commerce quality mark. Above all, Austrians appreciate the fact that they can shop on the Internet without stress, hectic rush and time pressure – and spend at least the same amount as in brick-and-mortar retail. Over 60 percent treat themselves to something when buying gifts.

So much Christmas shopping is being put on the internet

Austrians give the Christ Child a virtual helping hand: While generally only a fifth (21.2%) do more than half of their purchases on the Internet, this proportion is more than twice as high at Christmas: 48.3 percent want at least get half of the Christmas presents online. This year, 13.6 percent will forego parcels at all, 38.1 percent will only buy what has to be online on the Internet.

“Some can’t wait to buy Christmas presents. Others feel not excited about it, but rather horror, because they associate it with stress and overcrowded shops. These are also the main reasons for buying presents on the Internet Online shopping saves time, nerves – and even calories, “says Thorsten Behrens, managing director of the Austrian e-commerce quality mark, on whose behalf 1,000 Austrians were asked about their Christmas shopping behavior.

Lockdown motivates you to buy gifts virtually

“The lockdown announced after the survey will certainly be another important reason for buying virtual gifts and will further increase the already high proportion of online shopping. This will of course greatly reduce the time spent on Christmas shopping in brick-and-mortar stores,” adds Behrens Look at the current developments.

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Online shopping for Christmas saves time, nerves and calories: 85.4 percent buy their Christmas gifts online because they can choose and compare them at their leisure. 80 percent particularly appreciate the fact that they are not bound by opening times and that they can take a break at any time. More than three quarters (76.2%) of all respondents see it as a great advantage that they can find a much larger range of products on the Internet – in a small space, so to speak. And for 73.7 percent, the decisive factor is that they save an enormous amount of time.

Decision-making in peace and without stress

More than two thirds each cite the advantages of not having to make a decision immediately (71.3%), avoiding the hassle of looking for a parking space (70.3%) and convenient delivery (69.3%). A figure-conscious neighborhood (25.3%) sees another decisive advantage in virtual shopping: not to be tempted to reward yourself with mulled wine and biscuits for the stress of shopping.


Stress-free shopping is essential to online shopping for Christmas

“It is not only important to look for and compare in peace and quiet, but also for the sellers, because fraudsters and fake shops are also lurking on the Internet,” warns e-commerce expert Behrens. “If you want to save yourself the stress afterwards and want to be on the safe side, you should make sure that online retailers are certified with a seal of approval. The Austrian e-commerce seal of approval stands for trustworthy online shopping and guarantees transparency, secure payment and Data protection.” At www.guetezeichen.at, consumers can search specifically for certified retailers and filter them by categories such as fashion, sports or electronics.

Time factor: More than half shop for a maximum of three hours

Saving time is one of the top reasons to buy Christmas gifts online. And this calculation actually seems to work: 14.6 percent only need about half an hour, 10.9 percent say that they spend as little time as possible as an online Christkind and 30.3 percent are ready in a maximum of three hours.

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Nevertheless, shopping for gifts on the Internet is not done so quickly for everyone. 33.7 percent invest at least a few hours or days to search for and compare the right gifts in different shops. And at least a tenth (10.5%) say they spend several days or weeks in order to find the perfect gift.

Christmas presents to yourself are not uncommon

Especially on the Internet – and thanks to algorithms that constantly visualize the object of desire – the temptation is often great to put products in the shopping cart that you actually did not want to buy. How often does it happen to Austrians that they give themselves presents to themselves when shopping for Christmas on the Internet? After all, 62 percent admit that they at least sometimes treat themselves to something. 8.3% even “always” do this and occasionally forget that they actually wanted to shop for others. A disciplined 16.9 percent of respondents said that this rarely happens to them, a fifth (21.1%) remain consistent and never give themselves presents.


A total of 62 percent treat themselves to something when they go Christmas shopping

Online shopping is neither a bargain nor a mess

The cheap dressing gown is ordered three times (you can always use it), the range is searched for a gift for the colleague (minimum order value has not yet been reached), the whiskey globe is definitely suitable for the uncle (at least that suggests the category “gifts for Him “): With just a few clicks, all gifts are done, even if they are not particularly suitable.

The current study of the e-commerce quality mark does away with this prejudice: 63.4 percent of all respondents say that they rarely or never buy gifts for embarrassment on the Internet, but instead take the time to choose them. Only 18.5 percent state that they often get carried away with bargains or buy everything from a provider for convenience, even if the present is not so appropriate. And for 18.1 percent there is no difference in this regard between online and stationary – if there is a lack of ideas, one way or another an embarrassment gift is needed.

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Is it actually cheaper to shop online?

The results refute yet another myth: The opinion is still widespread that everything on the Internet – from travel to shoes – is automatically cheaper. However, the study shows that, at least at Christmas, online spending hardly differs from that in brick-and-mortar retail: 40.9 percent say they spend the same amount of money on the Internet, 18.9 percent even dig deeper into their pockets than in stores . Only a little more than a quarter (28.8%) say that they spend less per gift on virtual Christmas shopping.


At least at Christmas, the online editions hardly differ from those in brick-and-mortar retail

“It is to be expected that the lockdown will shift the Christmas business in favor of online trading. The survey results, however, show that this will hardly change anything in terms of total spending,” summarizes e-commerce expert Behrens.

About the study: The representative study of the Austrian e-commerce quality mark was carried out by Marketagent.com in September 2021 using an online survey among 1,000 Austrians (between 14 and 69 years of age).

About the Austrian e-commerce quality mark

The Austrian e-commerce quality mark is the visible symbol for serious online trading. As the only seal of approval in e-commerce, it is supported by the Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Labor and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and therefore enjoys a high level of trust among consumers. The specialization in the legal and cultural challenges in the Austrian online business gives retailers legal security in sales in and to Austria and supports them in successfully dealing with the peculiarities of the Austrian market. At the same time, the quality mark is very well networked across Europe. The certification gives retailers a visible sign of seriousness and, in addition, inexpensive support and advice for the online shop.

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