Research reveals Canadians often miss the mark with holiday gifts

Unwanted presents for sale on indicates there's room for improvement when it comes to gift-giving

TORONTO, Dec. 2 /CNW/ - New research and data from Canada's largest online classifieds website, uncovers the harsh reality about Canadians' poor gift-giving skills and the high likelihood of unwanted gifts turning up on the classifieds website after the holidays.

According to a recent Leger Marketing survey commissioned by Kijiji Canada, more than half of Canadians have received what they considered a bad holiday gift and almost one-third know or know of someone who they believe to be a consistent giver of holiday gifts that miss the mark or are just plain insulting.

While the research indicates dud holiday gifts commonly end up in storage, Canadians also look to cash in on unwanted items by discreetly selling them online. In 2008, a spike in unwanted items appeared on in the two months after the holidays.

Once it's unwrapped, why is it unwanted? According to the research conducted by Leger Marketing, most (67 per cent) Canadians say if the item doesn't fit with the recipient's personality or lifestyle, it is considered useless and a poor holiday gift.

"This isn't a bad joke" said Allyson Smith, a well-known comedian and Kijiji Canada's gift-giving therapist. "We are completely in the dark about our poor gift-giving skills. Our friends and family would rather talk about a brutally bad gift behind our back than tell us the truth because they're worried that we will turn around and talk about them behind their backs. It's a vicious cycle!"

Naughty versus nice

When it comes to talking about bad holiday gifts, Canadians are nice about not telling the truth. In fact, fewer than one in 10 Canadians told the gift giver that they didn't like the gift, while more than three in 10 Canadians were dishonest and told the person they liked their present, even though they didn't.

However, when it comes to revealing the truth to others, Canadians are more naughty than nice. Seven in 10 Canadians have discussed bad holiday gifts with others and three in four of these Canadians say they even divulge the bad gift-giver's name during the conversation.

"We're not asking Canadians to tattletale on their friends and family" adds Smith, "but by discussing what makes the best holiday gift, we're hoping shoppers will be able to make better buying decisions this holiday season."

Family is most important

According to Kijiji's research, it's important for holiday shoppers be extra careful when purchasing gifts for family. The research reveals that those related to the recipient tend to miss the mark most often. In fact, three in 10 Canadians indicate that their extended family - including grandparents, aunts, uncles and in-laws - tend to be the worst holiday gift-givers.

Where do they go wrong? A lack of time is the most common reason for making poor choices. Of those who admit to having given a bad holiday gift, one in three confesses they did so because they just didn't have enough time. This can lead to a gift that doesn't match with the recipient's personality or lifestyle and almost 50 per cent of respondents cite this as the characteristic of a poor holiday gift giver.

What to avoid? Based on post-holiday increases in classified listings on, shoppers may miss the mark when purchasing items that fall into the furniture, baby items, or clothing categories. The number of listings in these three areas increased most significantly between December 26, 2008 and February 28, 2009 - a strong indication the new postings were unwanted holiday gifts.

It's the thought that counts

Not surprising, the research confirmed that the best holiday gifts are those that are considered thoughtful, such as one that matches the recipient's personality and/or lifestyle.

Additional insights from respondents include:

    -   It's not about the buyer's personal taste, according to 35 per cent
        of Canadians. It's important to keep the recipient's likes and
        dislikes top of mind when considering gift options.
    -   Re-gifting is actually okay and considered thoughtful by 60 per cent
        of Canadians, but only when the item matches the recipient's
        personality and/or lifestyle. It's not acceptable when it doesn't.
    -   Don't send someone else to do your holiday shopping as 78 per cent of
        Canadians don't think this is thoughtful.
    -   One in 10 Canadians will go as far as pretending to like a bad
        holiday gift by putting it on display or wearing it when the gift
        giver is present.
    -   More than 80 per cent of Canadians have never knowingly given a bad
        holiday gift or been told by the recipient that it was.

What tops the list of thoughtless gifts? According to the research, some of the worst and most insulting holiday gifts include: a garbage can, a dress in the wrong size, a book on cleaning stains, a talking globe, a frying pan, and a candle that was wrapped for someone else.


This national survey was conducted by Leger Marketing between November 9th and November 12th, 2009. The survey was conducted using a national random sample of 1529 respondents from Leger Marketing's Web panel. This method simulates a probability sample which would yield a maximum margin of error of +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20

About Kijiji

Kijiji, which means "village" in Swahili, is a group of classifieds-style web sites that offer a convenient, fun, and easy way for people in the same city to meet, trade, share ideas, and help each other out in areas such as housing, jobs, goods, services, cars, and personals. The entire Kijiji family includes the Kijiji, Gumtree, LoQUo, Intoko, and Marktplaats brands. Kijiji sites are currently available in over 1500 cities in more than 20 markets around the world; it is the most visited classified site in Canada with more than 7.7 million unique visitors per month.

SOURCE Kijiji Canada

For further information: For further information: Amy Clark or Nicole Tuschak, Environics Communications for Kijiji Canada, (416) 969-2758 or (416) 969-2712, or

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