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Not done your Christmas Shopping yet?

A gift experience could be the perfect present

Present Under the Tree

With the festive season fast approaching, we’ve looked at Google search data to see what types of present ideas are proving popular, as well as finding out how many people leave their Christmas shopping to the last minute each year. 

This is what we discovered.

We’re a nation that loves to gift an experience…

The data revealed that searches for ‘gift experience’ are growing in popularity, up 22% year on year. A massive 2.19 million Brits have typed this into Google in the month of December alone since 2018.

‘Experience days’ is also a more common search term, up a staggering 83% in the last year.

Just over 2.5 million people have asked Google for its ‘experience day’ suggestions in the month of December since 2018, with results revealing everything from spa days with afternoon tea to driving experience days and even hot air balloon rides!

After such a challenging two years during which we’ve all be largely stuck at home, it’s perhaps no surprise that so many of us want to gift our loved ones with days out and trips we know they’ll cherish and remember for a long time to come.

Earlier this year, we encouraged the nation to get back out and safely exploring the UK via our ‘great British days out’ summer campaign. If you haven’t yet seen our route explorer videos, then they’re worth a watch – you can experience our entire Sunderland to London journey from the comfort of sofa and take in all the beautiful views along the way. Now that’s armchair travel!

For anyone who hasn’t yet got all their Christmas presents sorted, then train tickets to visit a new city for a day out or weekend away could be a lovely surprise for your friends and family, and you can now book Grand Central rail tickets up to four months in advance, so it could even be a deferred treat for when the warmer weather returns. It’s always nice to have something to look forward to!

Christmas Toy Train

The UK capital of last-minute Christmas shoppers is…

We also discovered that Leicester is the UK capital of last-minute online Christmas shoppers, with thousands of residents turning to Google to help them find gifts in a hurry.

Across the nation, Brits appear to be leaving their gift-getting later and later each year, with Google searches for ‘last minute Christmas gifts’ already up 24% year on year, and up a massive 177% since 2018.

The UK Capitals of Last-Minute Christmas Shoppers (online) are:

  1. Leicester
  2. Plymouth
  3. Dundee
  4. Milton Keynes
  5. Swansea
  6. Aberdeen
  7. Hull
  8. York
  9. Norwich
  10. Bournemouth

While Exeter didn’t make the top ten list, it is the place where searches for present ideas in a hurry have gone up the most in the last two years – up 59%! This was closely followed by Norwich, where searches are up 58%.

Lady Christmas Shopping

More information about our research…

  • Data was from Google Adwords - Keyword Planner on 15th December 2021
  • We looked at UK national figures and then city specific.
  • Our list of selected cities was taken from Google – the ‘biggest cities in the UK’ results.
  • We gathered data on searches of ‘last minute Christmas gifts’, ‘last minute gifts’, ‘gift experience’ and ‘experience days’.
  • The top ten list of last-minute Christmas shoppers was based on the combined search volume of ‘last minute Christmas gifts’ per city during December for the last two years, divided by the total reach (Google’s estimated population figure per city).


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