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Last (minute) Christmas: Which? reveals when people are hitting the shops this year

More than a quarter of shoppers admitted that they leave buying all their Christmas presents until the last minute, according to new Which? research.

In a survey of over 1,300 members, the consumer champion found more than a quarter (26%) have not bought a single present at the start of December.

The survey also found online shopping is ahead of the high street as a preferred place to pick up presents for friends and family.

While more than two in five (43%) respondents said they had no preference between online and in-store shopping, three in 10 (30%) said they preferred to surf the web for Christmas gifts.

Just over a quarter (27%) said braving the crowds and doing their shopping in-store was still their preferred option.

Six in ten (59%) of those who preferred shopping online or had no preference on where they shopped, said it was because they like getting items delivered to them, while more than half (54%) said they were put off shopping in-store by the crowds.

More than four in five (84%) said they like to see items before buying them, while more than two in five (43%) said they liked visiting independent retailers at Christmas time.

Only a tiny proportion of shoppers (1%) said they were organised enough to start buying their presents more than six months before Christmas.

An impressive one in five (22%) said they start their Christmas shopping two to three months before 25 December and just over three in 10 (31%) start a month before, potentially taking advantage of deals on offer for Black Friday – 23 November this year.

Less than one in ten (8%) of people don’t buy Christmas presents at all, Which? found.

More than one in five (22%) of those who preferred shopping in person or had no preference on where they shopped said they feel more comfortable returning an item in-store. Only four per cent said they prefer online shopping as they feel it has stronger consumer rights.

Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said:

“Whether you leave your Christmas shopping right to the last minute or buy your presents months in advance, make sure you know your return and refund rights to avoid losing out.

“Shopping online gives you stronger legal rights when it comes to taking back impulse buys, though you may need to act fast. Always check the retailer’s policy on unwanted goods in case your gift doesn’t hit the spot.”

Advice from Which? on smart shopping this Christmas:

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