Amazon, Google or the High Street? Where Will We Be Starting our Gift Shopping this Christmas?

Christmas may feel a long way off, but in the world of retail it's just around the corner and fast creeping up. So while our clients are busy preparing promotions and setting up shop for a prosperous festive season, we've been busy polling the public about where they typically start their search for that perfect gift. In August 2020, we asked 1,000 adults in the UK:

"When you're looking for a gift for someone, where do you most often start your search?"

Our Findings in Summary

  • Amazon just pips the High Street as the primary place to start the process of gift hunting (30.1% of respondents said Amazon and 30.0% the High Street)
  • Amazon and the High Street, based on our statistics, are the clear winners with search engines like Google lagging behind with 22.9% of the vote
  • Social media channels do entice shoppers to start their search, but the overall numbers are still low

It's Different for Men and Women

When we break the data down by gender, we can see clear differences.

Women are far likelier to do their gift shopping (Christmas or otherwise) in a physical store (36.7%) while just 23% of men start their search for the perfect gift offline in this way.

Younger People Are Far Less Likely to Start their Gift Shopping Offline

We found huge variations in our gift shopping statistics on an age level.

  • Of those aged 18 to 24, just 20.8% start their gift search in a physical shop while 43.2% start on Amazon
  • For the 25 - 34s, the most popular starting point for Christmas shopping is likely to be a search engine, with 28.2% of them starting this is where they most often begin their gift search
  • Search engines win again for those aged 35 - 44, with 26.2% of the vote
  • For all three age categories that sit at 45 and over, a shopping centre is the clear winner.

Here's the data.

  18 - 24s 25 - 34s 35 - 44s 45 - 54s 55 - 64s 65+
On Amazon 43.20% 24.00% 25.70% 30.20% 28.50% 30.30%
I go to a shop/shopping centre 20.80% 27.30% 25.30% 36.30% 35.20% 37.30%
Google or another Search Engine 18.80% 28.20% 26.20% 20.20% 24.50% 17.40%
On Ebay 0.00% 9.40% 11.70% 8.50% 6.20% 7.70%
On Facebook 4.00% 5.30% 7.30% 2.30% 2.50% 3.70%
On Instagram 10.50% 4.50% 2.30% 1.80% 2.00% 0.00%
Other 0.60% 1.30% 1.50% 0.70% 0.00% 3.60%
Asos 2.10% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1.10% 0.00%

The Gift Shopping Process

It's important to note with these statistics that the question was around where gift shopping STARTS. And a look inside your own Analytics Data (assisted conversions) will tell you that there are often multiple touch points in the journey from beginning the search to actually converting and making that purchase. So don't assume that the place in which someone starts there search will be the place in which they complete the transaction.

What does this tell us?

In short? That the big opportunity is online. Yes, the High Street still has its pull but with more and more of our spending going online, this represents a huge opportunity for online retailers.

These are statistics that give us a very brief hint into the shopping process around gifts.

But if you have a clear idea as to your demographic (age and gender in the very least) you can start to build a picture of which channels should be amongst the most important for you over the busy Christmas Shopping period.

  • If your target audience is getting inspired on Facebook and Instagram, then be there
  • For almost all demographics, the case for Amazon is clear
  • Paid search and SEO are vital given the volume of potential customers starting their journey to purchase on search engines, are probably a vital part of the marketing campaign for any online retailer


The data was collected using Google Surveys in August 2020. It should be noted that the only means of respondents getting involved therefore is online - so the figures here apply to only adults with Internet access of some description (enabling them to be online to answer the question).

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