November 27, 2018

UK set to waste 60 million presents this Christmas

To mark Giving Tuesday on 27 November, we are calling on shoppers to give more meaningful gifts this Christmas. Millions of pounds are wasted on unwanted gifts which will likely end up in the bin.

A new survey from YouGov has found that over half (57%) of Brits who celebrate Christmas receive at least one unwanted gift on average at this time of year, with 37% claiming they would be happy to receive a charitable donation as a present [1].

If the money spent on 60 million unwanted gifts received each year [2] was redirected to Send a Cow, it could support millions of families living in the poorest parts of Africa. The survey revealed that at least 380 million is spent on Christmas presents for friends, which could support 11 million African families by providing them each with a goat [3]. Priced at £33 each, a dairy goat provides families with nutritious milk to drink and sell - providing a vital income - and manure to improve crop yields.

Send a Cow| 60 million unwanted Christmas presents set to be received this year

Nearly half (48%) admitted they struggle to find good presents for their family and friends and bath products topped the given list of the nation’s least loved Christmas presents.

Top unwanted Christmas gifts:
  1. Bath products (38%)
  2. A film/ boxset (18%)
  3. Candles (16%)
  4. Chocolate (16%)
  5. Socks (14%)

Our ambassador, actor and star of ‘Our Girl’, Ben Aldridge said:

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“I was lucky enough to visit a Send a Cow project earlier this year and was amazed by the life-changing work they are doing in rural Africa. This Christmas, we are calling on people everywhere to donate to charities like Send a Cow instead of spending their money on unwanted Christmas presents. My family is abolishing present giving between the adults in favour of redirecting that money towards causes that really need it. I don’t need anymore novelty socks or cheap stocking fillers! The money wasted on those things could actually make a huge impact elsewhere.”
Ben Aldridge
Send a Cow | Ben Aldridge

Instead of resorting to festive bath bombs or Christmas candles, shoppers can purchase life-changing virtual gifts ranging from goats and tools to allotments and beehives on our online shop where prices start from just £5.

You simply select your gift, such as a chicken or a goat, and your loved one will receive a Christmas gift pack telling them all about the gift you’ve made in their name and the incredible impact it will have to families in Africa.

Our CEO, Paul Stuart, commented: Buying a Send a Cow virtual gift for a loved one has a double impact and goes far beyond your typical gift of socks or smellies which often end up in the bin. The person receiving the gift feels good knowing that a donation has been made with them in mind and a struggling family in Africa receives vital support to help them transform their lives. It’s a gift which feels good and does good; what could be better than that?’’

The average person spends between £10 - £20 on unwanted Christmas presents for friends and loved ones. Instead they could buy:
  • Two chickens that can provide malnourished families with eggs to eat and sell (£16)
  • Garden tools for two families so they can grow their own vegetables (£14)
  • Fruit trees to help people establish their own orchards (£20)

With nearly half of shoppers admitting they struggle to find good presents for loved ones, charity gifts could be the way forward for a less wasteful and more meaningful Christmas this year.


[1] All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,182 adults, of which 1965 celebrate Christmas. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st - 2nd November 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

[2] Based on findings of YouGov survey when extrapolated to the GB population of 50,644,094 million people, 90% of which celebrate Christmas and 94% of whom gave an opinion. The survey found that, on average, Brits who celebrate Christmas received 1.4 unwanted presents in an average Christmas – 59,982,864 overall.

[3] Based on findings of YouGov survey when extrapolated to the GB population of 50,644,094 million people, 90% of which celebrate Christmas and 97% of whom gave an opinion. The survey found that, on average, Brits who celebrate Christmas and give Christmas presents to friends spent £18.31 – £380,477,739 on a Christmas present for a friend. Calculations by Greenhouse PR.