Not sure about a gift? The safe bet is chocs

Pieces of milk and dark chocolate are displayed at the Salon du Chocolat (Chocolate Fair) in Paris.
Pieces of milk and dark chocolate are displayed at the Salon du Chocolat (Chocolate Fair) in Paris. PHOTO: AFP

UOB survey finds the sweet treat is the most popular gift

All we really want for Christmas, it seems, is chocolate.

A United Overseas Bank (UOB) survey found chocolate is the most popular gift among respondents, as 61 per cent are planning to give the sweet treat as gifts, while 32 per cent want to receive it.

"Chocolate may well be the safest bet, as the survey shows a disconnect between what men and women wish for and what they'll be receiving," said UOB.

While 43 per cent of men would give their female friends toys, and 26 per cent would give them mobile phone accessories, as it turns out, 38 per cent of women would prefer chocolates, and the same proportion, department store vouchers.

Women also would not give their male friends what they really want, with 43 per cent planning to give them toys and 41 per cent, cosmetics. However, 29 per cent of men would prefer a new smartphone, 26 per cent wanted chocolates and 20 per cent, a wallet.

More respondents, both men and women, are looking for a break this festive season as compared to last year, UOB found.

 

Twenty-two per cent put overseas holidays on their Christmas wishlist, up from 18 per cent last year, and 18 per cent said they want a staycation for Christmas, up from 13 per cent last year.

However, the survey also found that consumers are holding back on Christmas gifts as the economy slows.

Respondents plan to spend $668 on average this festive season, 13 per cent less than in 2015, UOB said.

Consumers are also hunting for competitive prices, but some habits have not changed. The vast majority - 84 per cent - still go to shopping centres to buy gifts.

And they are savvy shoppers, with seven in 10 saying they look for bargains and discounts from their credit and debit cards.

More respondents, or 74 per cent, up 9 percentage points from last year, are also taking advantage of Christmas sales, discounts and deals.

UOB surveyed 500 respondents - 250 men and 250 women.

While shopping centres had the biggest share of shoppers, 71 per cent of survey respondents said they also do online shopping, 15 percentage points more than last year.

Categories that are most popular with online shoppers include fashion and accessories, beauty, health and wellness, and electronics.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2016, with the headline 'Not sure about a gift? The safe bet is chocs'. Print Edition | Subscribe