More people than ever will be planning to send Christmas gifts by post or courier this year and that got us thinking, what do people send at Christmas? Is it all biscuits and socks?
To answer this question, we looked at a sample of over 30,000 parcels sent in December last year and with the help of a team of friendly nerds (we mean data scientists) we came up with the top 10 most popular items to send at Christmas, plus some unusual items that may just give you the gift inspiration you're looking for.
It's official, the most popular item to send at Christmas is clothing. Nearly 6000 parcels sent during December contained clothes, that's 20% of the total number of shipments analysed. Christmas jumper anyone?
Although clothing is the most popular gift to send, according to Royal Mail, it’s also the most returned item after Christmas. Something to consider before you buy that novelty t-shirt for your bestie.
Lockdown led to a significant increase in book sales this year. Top titles to consider gifting include Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Ownes, A Life On Our Planet by David Attenborough, or for the younger audience, Code Name Bananas by David Walliams (our personal favourite).
Many of us have spent more time in our kitchens this year (the humble banana loaf will forever be an icon of 2020) so a new kitchen gadget for the budding chef in your life could make the ideal gift.
Last year was an eclectic mix of Frozen 2, Toy Story 4 and Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot, but this year we’re predicting a high number of Baby Yoda’s will flood the courier networks. May the force be with us all!
Everyone loves a Christmas hamper, but how much would you spend on one? The word’s most expensive hamper was reported at a staggering £85,605. It included the rarest caviar, foie gras and the same champagne drunk at Prince Charles and Diana's wedding.
Did you know that in parts of Asia, giving shoes as a gift is supposed to be a bad omen? It’s thought to signify a future separation between you and the receiver. Spooky, but not enough to put anyone off receiving a new pair of Jimmy Choos.
If you know someone who had their PlayStation 5 on pre-order then PS5 games will be top of their Christmas list. Marvel fans will like Spider-Man: Miles Morales, or for more inclusive family fun, how about a four-player game like Sackboy: A Big Adventure.
If you’re not the creative type, but like the idea of sending something truly unique and special, Etsy and online stores like Not On the High Street are a great place to find personalised works of art.
Family Zoom calls, quiz nights and virtual birthday celebrations have been the theme for 2020. If someone you care about is struggling to stay connected then maybe it’s time to improve their home tech.
Vinyl sales continue to climb in the UK and it’s not just the classics. Some of the best-selling vinyl records of 2020 include Fleetwood Mac, Amy Winehouse, Nirvana, Liam Gallagher and Harry Styles.
Parcel Monkey counted and categorised the contents of 50,000 parcels, as declared by its senders, between the 1st December to Christmas Eve to truly understand not just how the nation gives gifts but also to appreciate what else gets sent at Christmas.
We used a semantic similarity clustering methodology to aggregate all the declarations into groups such as "clothing", "homewares" and "hardware". The declarations then had root nouns extracted to allow for aggregations of all similar items ("fluffy socks", "Christmas socks" and "football socks" all get aggregated into "socks"). Finally, to understand common attributes of these nouns, we extracted the related adjectives to understand and aggregate how each sent 'thing' was described by a sender. As we know, a "gaming console" should be treated differently to a "console table".
These aggregations were then split and analysed as groupings to maintain user anonymity. Furthermore, the datasets employed were processed without any personally identifiable data to protect our users' privacy.