TK Maxx has commissioned an exclusive survey to uncover the UK’ s gifting habits ahead of Valentine’s day. Data reveals the occasions most likely to inspire us invest in gifts for loved ones along with how they compare to the ones that we receive.

Occasion Average Annual Gift Spend Top Gift Purchased  
Christmas £95.40 55% food
Birthday £57.60 41% food
Anniversary £64.10 43% flowers
Other religious holiday £87.80 44% food
Mother’s Day £39.50 63% flowers
Father’s Day £45.10 40% food
Engagement £75.10 51% gift cards or cash
Wedding £779.40 59% gift cards or cash
New Baby £43.20 62% clothing & accessories
Housewarming/New baby £60.40 43% home furnishings & accessories

The arrival of a new baby is a hair of celebration, and an opportunity to rummage through the clothes aisles. 62% of respondents said they like to buy clothes and accessories as a gift for new-borns, and this was also the most popular item for new parents to receive (39%).

Meanwhile, if you’ re stumped for a wedding gift, you’ re in good company if you give cash, vouchers, or gift cards – 59% said this was their gift of choice when buying for the couple, while 51% did so for engagements. Thankfully, cash, vouchers and gift cards came out as the most popular gift (32%) among newlyweds after their walk down the aisle.

Mother’ s Day see gift givers most likely to buy flowers (63%) for their mums, preferred gift, according to 48% of mothers. When it comes to gifting on Father’ s Day, people were most likely to give food as a present (40%), but it turns out that dads would rather receive bubbly or beer, with 37% citing alcohol as their top Father’ s Day gift

According to data, Wales is the most generous-spirited region in the UK as 66% of people say they prefer to give, and just 17% prefer to receive. Similarly, people in Wales gave an average of 8.6 gifts over the past year – joint top with Scotland, and ahead of the south of England, which averaged 8.1.

Elsewhere, it seems the key to a Londoner’ s heart is to ply them with gifts – 28% of people in the capital said they prefer to receive gifts than give them, compared to just 13% in the rest of the UK. Londoners also bought more gifts for themselves (5.2) over the past year than any other region – the UK average was 3.9. It also seems that generosity increases with age; 66% of over 55s said they prefer to give gifts (the highest of any age group), and only 5% prefer to receive (the lowest of any age group). Young people (18 to 34-year-olds) were the most likely to say they prefer to receive gifts – 26% in total

  • 16% of residents in the north get nervous about giving gifts – higher than any other region
  • People in Wales are the most likely to pretend to like a gift than be honest about disliking it (67%)
  • People in the south of England spent the most money on gifts for themselves in 2022, on average £303.30
  • Southerners believe they buy the best gifts (42%), more so than any other regions
  • Scotland’s residents purchased the fewest gifts (3.1 on average)
  • Those in the midlands are the most likely to re-gift a present (42%)
  • Londoners purchased more gifts for themselves over the last year than any other region (5.2 on average)
  • 28% of Londoners prefer to receive gifts, compared to just 13% of the rest of the UK

Generous to a fault

Not every gift is warmly received. Our survey sheds some light on the gifts people like, compared to the reality of the gifts they get.

Food was the most popular Christmas gift purchase (55%), but people were most likely to want to receive cash, vouchers, or a gift card (37%). And for other religious holidays, food was again top of the to-buy list (44%), but recipients were more interested in getting beauty or personal care items (34%).

How we gift as our relationships grow

Survey data suggests that present buying is a big deal before, during and after a relationship

Most likely gifts of male partners to buy their other halves











Most likely gifts of female partners to buy their other halves



Gift Cards/Cash







Unsurprisingly, we have no problem buying a special treat for those we’ re dating, or during the early weeks and months of a romance. But what happens as a relationship matures?

Nearly a quarter (26%) of women feel the number of gifts they receive from their partner has reduced in frequency over the years, compared to 20% of men who said the same.

However, it appears that a maturing relationship does little to dampen the spirit of giving – 69% of respondents say the amount of presents they’ve given and received has stayed the same as their relationship has progressed. In fact, almost half (47%) agree that gifts are a great way of breathing new life into a relationship.

In a typical year, couples buy 3.8 gifts for their partner (excluding birthdays, Christmas, and anniversaries). There was also a notable gender split in the types of gifts we buy for our loved ones. Male partners say they’ re most likely to buy their other halves a fragrance or aftershave (36%) while women are most likely to buy their partner clothing and accessories (44%). And sadly, not every relationship – and gift buying experience – has a happy ending.

  • 38% say that they keep gifts they receive from a past relationship as the still use them as they are useful or practical
  • 27% of respondents donate any gifts given to them by an ex-partner to charity once the relationship has ended
  • 9% would burn or destroy gifts given to them buy an ex

In truth, the responses show how gifts are part of our romantic journeys at every stage – from a blossoming relationship to a difficult breakup and everything in between.

The gift that keeps on giving

Many of us have no issue with passing on presents we don ’t like. In fact, 41% of those we surveyed said they’ve regifted a present, and 19% have considered regifting but have never done it.

There are many reasons why we might regift, but which items are we regifting the most, and is it something to feel awkward about, or a brilliant solution to our throwaway habits?

  • 40% thought someone else would make better use of it
  • 37% already owned it or a similar product
  • 34% did not like the gift
  • 27% said they had too many of the same gift
  • 27% wanted to reduce waste

The top 5 regifted items

  • Beauty/personal care 46%
  • Alcohol 36%
  • Clothing/accessories 23%
  • Food 22%
  • Frangrance/aftershave 18%

Can we still feel good about gifting?

While modern trends like self-gifting and regifting have changed the way we think about pressies, this is by no means an indication that we’ re miserable about mementos. And while we’ re undoubtedly living through tough times, 58% of those we polled agreed that ‘regardless of the cost-of-living increase, they want to ensure that their family don’t miss out on celebrations throughout the year.

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