Break taboos, not the bank: French shoppers go second-hand for Christmas 2023

The magic of Christmas is approaching rapidly and this year French shoppers are on the lookout for deals that protect their wallets – as well as the planet.

That’s according to the latest survey conducted by IPSOS for Rakuten, revealing unprecedented data on French consumers’ Christmas shopping plans and changing attitudes towards buying and reselling Christmas gifts*¹.

We spoke with Flora Louvet, Head of Corporate Communications at Rakuten France about what the data means for French shopping habits.

Saving and strategic shopping for Christmas 2023

For millions of French people, the December holidays are an opportunity to celebrate and splash some cash on loved ones. However, with inflation eroding shoppers’ purchasing power, and ecological awareness also a top priority, 2023 Christmas shopping is bringing some interesting changes in gift etiquette.

This year’s Christmas is all about savings. French shoppers are increasingly vigilant about their budgets – 77% say budget comes first. And they are looking for shopping solutions that help to keep a lid on their finances.

Many French shoppers are prioritizing budget over shopping responsibly.
Many French shoppers are prioritizing budget over shopping responsibly.

“In an inflationary climate, the French are paying particular attention to savings this year,” said Louvet. “However, they are not giving up on spoiling their loved ones but are looking for the best strategies to stay within their budget. In 2023, the search for reductions is intense, and anticipation is the watchword.”

Planning ahead has become a strategic move with 76% of French shoppers intending to start their Christmas shopping weeks ahead. This leverages the appeal of Black Friday discounts, where a staggering 81% intend to make their festive purchases. Black Friday is a particularly popular day with the 16-34 age group, 89% of whom said they were looking to use the bargain day for shopping.

French shoppers are clearly looking to find the best deals. A wish that Rakuten’s e-commerce platform fulfils, according to Louvet.

“At Rakuten France, we innovate every day to meet the expectations of our buyers, starting with our cashback program, Club R, which is the most generous in e-commerce in France. We are committed to supporting the purchasing power of the French people and continue to work with our merchants to offer the best deals.”

Gifts for sale: Saying goodbye to the taboo

One of the most noteworthy revelations to emerge in 2023 is the rising acceptance and prevalence of second-hand gifts.

A remarkable 52% of French shoppers are embracing the idea of gifting pre-loved items. This is in stark contrast to the one in five recorded in 2021. Any worries that gifting something second-hand might be considered impolite are quickly dissipating among French consumers.

“Conducting this barometer every year enables us to observe some interesting evolutions. Especially, second-hand purchases are a fine example of a significant change in French consumer habits. Offering a used or refurbished gift seems to have become commonplace,” Louvet said.

“We’re also seeing growing satisfaction among French people who receive second-hand gifts, and reselling gifts after Christmas is no longer a taboo. On Rakuten France, one in two products sold is second-hand, all year round, and we encourage the circular economy by providing our buyers with additional guarantees: Reconditionné CeRtifié, for refurbished products, or the newly released Buyer’s protection, covering used products.”

Consumers are buying more second hand goods due to budges and environmental concerns.
Consumers are buying more second hand goods due to budgets and environmental concerns.

Redefining gift-giving for a sustainable holiday season

The shift in consumer etiquette is underscored by financial motivations, with 69% of shoppers citing lower prices and cost savings, coupled with a growing awareness of the environmental impact (46%). Notably, the 25-34 age group is leading this eco-conscious charge, turning second-hand gifting into an anti-inflation reflex.

Almost half of French people surveyed (47%) make no distinction between a new and a second-hand gift. The trend demonstrates the growing expansion of the second-hand market, accompanied by another dynamic: the increasing acceptance of reselling gifts.

One in two French people are willing to resell their gifts.
One in two French people are willing to resell their gifts.

Moreover, the previously frowned-upon idea of reselling gifts is now accepted by an impressive 72% of French shoppers. Clearly marking society’s evolving view on gift-giving, promoting a circular economy and lessening the stigma of reusing presents.

As we approach this festive season, Rakuten’s e-commerce platform stands as a beacon for French shoppers seeking not only the best deals but also a sustainable approach to gifting through its innovative cashback system. The magic of Christmas in 2023 does not just lie in the exchange of presents. But also in the evolving attitudes towards second-hand shopping. Something that will undoubtedly shape the way we celebrate a more thoughtful and responsible holiday season.

*¹ Christmas Barometer 2023: IPOS survey conducted of 2,500 French citizens aged 16 and older.

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