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The internet of [Christmas] things – the new Christmas Day traditions

22 December 2014

Younger generation just as likely to shop-online as watch the Queen’s speech

  • Quarter of Brits will use social media on Christmas Day
  • 12% of Brits will Skype Christmas greetings on the big day
  • 8% will shop online on Christmas Day

A new survey suggests that technology is changing the way people spend Christmas Day as younger generations create their own customs. 

This Christmas, 18 to 24 year olds are just as likely to shop-online (12%) as watch the Queen’s speech (13%); are more likely to send festive greetings via social media (34%) than by telephone (24%) and go to the pub (11%) than church (8%).

Commissioned by Gocompare.com, the survey asked over 2,000 UK adults how they will spend Christmas Day. It revealed that the Christmas tradition of catching-up with loved one remains strong, but that new technology, for young adults in particular, is changing the way in which we make contact and spend time together:  

Christmas Day activity

All adults (%)

18-24 year olds (%)

25-34 year olds (%)

Visit family and friends

43

44

52

Telephone family and friends

41

24

34

Have friends and family to visit

36

44

34

Use social media

25

34

35

Skype friends or family

12

11

15

Watch a Christmas film or TV as a family 

55

54

50

Sit in a separate room to watch a film or TV programme

7

12

12

Watch the Queen’s speech

22

13

17

Record Christmas TV specials or watch ‘catch-up TV’

30

19

26

Go to church

11

8

12

Go to the pub

10

11

13

Shop online on Christmas Day

8

12

16

Watching YouTube videos

6

11

14

Play a board or family party game

31

34

37

Playing multi-player online games with people from around the world

4

9

7

Put unwanted Christmas presents on Ebay

2

6

3

The survey also found that while most Brits (71%) will enjoy a home-cooked traditional Christmas dinner, 25 to 34 year olds are twice as likely to eat a ready-meal Christmas turkey and all the trimmings (8% compared with 4% for all adults).

Ben Wilson, spokesperson at Gocompare.com Home, commented: “Christmas traditions evolve and change as each generation creates their own customs and ways of celebrating the holiday.   In recent years, the internet has become so integral to our everyday lives that it’s not surprising it has changed the way we spend Christmas day.

“Skype and FaceTime enable us to make virtual visits to loved-ones, while online shopping allows us to bag some bargains in the post-Christmas sales without having to leave the sofa or elbow our way through the high-street crowds.  New technology has also changed the way we watch films and TV.  On-demand and catch-up services mean that we can watch our favourite Christmas programmes without having to remember to set the video recorder.”    

-ends-

Notes to editors:

*On 14-18 November 2014 an online survey was conducted among 2,004 randomly selected British adults age 18+ who are also Springboard United Kingdom Community members. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.2%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current data on age, gender, region, and education from the most recent census data, to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of the UK. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.