Finns spend almost EUR 2 billion yearly on gifts

13.04.11 10:19 | Lehdistötiedotteet

Finns estimate that they spend about EUR 1.2 billion a year on gifts. In fact, the actual amount spent is much higher, almost EUR 2 billion, and this sum does not include Christmas presents. Nearly half of the population thinks that people in general spend excessively on gifts and presents. Grandparents are the most generous gift-buyers.

A survey commissioned by Nordea reveals that Finns spend most on graduation and wedding gifts. The most frequently bought gifts are, however, connected to children’s birthdays. More than one out of four respondents had bought at least five birthday presents for children during the last 12 months. Some respondents said they had bought as many as 11 presents or more.

- In many families, the birthdays of children’s friends mean big expenses. The survey shows that the average value of a gift is EUR 20. The money spent on these small gifts over the year may add up to a hefty sum, especially if the family has several children who are close in age, says Nordea’s Private Economist Anu Numminen.

Finns typically spend around EUR 40-70 on other gifts. How much money one is willing to spend on a gift clearly depends on how close the receiver is to the gift-buyer. Consequently, people tend to be more generous when they buy gifts for their own children or grandchildren.

- Parents for instance will spend on average EUR 510 (median EUR 270) on a wedding gift for their own child and EUR 170 on a graduation gift for a grandchild (median EUR 100). If the gift is a wedding gift to close friends or a graduation gift to relatives’ children, people typically spend EUR 70 (in both the median is EUR 50).

People prefer to give money for occasions such as confirmations or a graduation, but in most other celebrations a gift item is still considered more appropriate. Four out of ten respondents think that when they give money, the amount should be higher than the value of a suitable gift item. It is not very common to give shares, fund units or other savings products as a gift in Finland.

Gifts are important in social interaction

The importance of gifts as a social phenomenon is evident: almost one in five would buy on credit, if they otherwise could not afford to buy a gift for a commemoration. And equally, many would decline an invitation altogether. Naturally, the money spent on gifts is income-related. People within the lower income segment tend to spend twice as much on gifts (in relation to their income) as those in the middle and high income segments. Still, a significantly large number of people in the lower income segment or in one-person households think that they spend too little money on gifts. By contrast, those with high income tend to think more often than others that they spend too much money on gifts.

- Common sense should not be abandoned when buying gifts; it is the thought that counts. The sentimental value of the gift and giving something personal is often more important than its monetary value. Money can also be saved by giving a do-it-yourself gift. Most people would probably prefer that their friend accepts the invitation even if they cannot bring an expensive gift. After all, it’s the guests that make a party, Anu Numminen says. 

The survey was carried out using a web panel in January. The panel forms a representative sample of people using Internet. The interviews conducted were weighted on age, gender and region. In Finland 1,029 interviews were conducted in the age group 18+. When generalised to the whole population, the results reflect the attitudes and behaviour of approximately 4 million Finns in that age group. The survey was conducted by Synovate.

For further information:
Anu Numminen, Private Economist, tel +358 9 165 88218
Anni Kuusisto, Press Officer, tel +358 9 165 42653