According to new research from Musgrave MarketPlace, 60% of small business owners plan to give corporate gifts this festive season in lieu of a party – a rise of 5% year-on-year.

The survey also shows that over two thirds (69%) of businesses plan to buy gifts for clients this Christmas, an increase of 5% on last year.

The study was carried out among 613 Irish SMEs as part of the Musgrave MarketPlace ‘Christmas Made’ campaign.

Of the SMEs that are buying gifts this Christmas, 65% say they will spend up to €1,000 and given that Christmas parties are a less likely this year, over a quarter plan to send additional gifts to clients in lieu of a face-to-face celebration.

According to the Musgrave MarketPlace poll, 64% say they are sending gifts to thank their clients for their ongoing business with only 10% choosing to send gifts to drive sales. Although it’s not a motivating factor for sending gifts, 41% claim to have noticed an improvement in business due to corporate gifting.

As the festive season inches closer and closer, the logistics of organising gifting this year is somewhat different to previous years. Over three quarters (78%) of SMEs feel that corporate gifting is more stressful this year due to COVID 19 restrictions, with one in five (21%) saying a member of their team will organise and send gifts from their own home.

The survey also shows that mixed food and alcohol hampers continue to rank as the most popular choice for corporate clients, with 47% of SME owners opting for this classic gift. Alcohol also rates highly among SMEs, with a fifth (21%) of small business owners now choosing a case of wine for clients while just 9% of respondents will opt for sending chocolates.

Musgrave MarketPlace Marketing Director Desi Derby said: “From the end of summer our customers have been telling us that ‘more gifting, less gathering’ would become the key trend this Christmas. We’ve been very focused on meeting that demand, and we expect to sell over 40,000 hampers this year, which is a 10% increase on 2019.

“To meet customer needs our hamper proposition includes pre-made hampers, alcohol gift packs and inspiration for DIY hampers, as many of our customers are choosing to create their own hampers this year from the products in our branches. As well as corporate gifting to clients this year, we’re seeing an increased number of SMEs sending gifts to employees in place of the traditional Christmas party, and at Musgrave MarketPlace, we have a great range of gifts to meet all of those business needs.”

For further information on great gift ideas this Christmas, visit your local Musgrave MarketPlace branch or log on to https://www.musgravemarketplace.ie/christmas-hampers/.

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