12 per cent of people don’t expect to be thanked for gifts this Christmas

New research suggests that saying thank you by letter or Christmas card is a dying art. Pic: Greg MacVean
New research suggests that saying thank you by letter or Christmas card is a dying art. Pic: Greg MacVean

People are set to bypass traditional thank you letters this Christmas in favour of giving thanks digitally or in person.

The move comes after new research showed over half of those questioned admitted feeling upset if they didn’t get thanked for sending a gift.

A survey, commissioned by Postnap and carried out by Arlington Research, suggests that saying thank you by letter or card is a dying art as digital channels and face-to-face gratitude replaces the age-old thank you note.

Over half (53 per cent) of the 2000 UK consumers surveyed thanked friends and family in person for Christmas gifts in 2014, with almost a quarter (22 per cent) opting to do so via social media, email or text message and only eight per cent sending a physical card or letter.

The poll found that the perceived effort required is a key contributing factor to the death of the physical card with 21 per cent of respondents finding it easier to email, text or send thanks by social media. Three per cent admitted it’s not worth the bother to send a card.

Despite these findings, 11 per cent of people would prefer to receive a physical card or letter to thank them for their Christmas gifts this year, in contrast to five per cent of people wanting acknowledgement via social media.

Giving thanks face-to-face still features highly in the wish list for nearly half (48 per cent) of respondents this Christmas.

Preferring the personal touch, only a fifth (18 per cent) of 18-24 year olds want to receive thanks in digital form, via email, text or social media. Nevertheless, this age group rarely practices what they preach, with a third of 18-24 year olds choosing to give thanks digitally, instead of in person or via a thank you note.

Any thanks is better than nothing for a dejected one in ten (12 per cent) of 55-65 year olds, who don’t expect to be thanked at all for the gifts they give this Christmas.

Stephen Homer, managing director at Postsnap, said: “Most of us expect some form of thanks for the gifts we give, but our fast-paced lives and digital driven world has led to the decline of sending physical cards and letters because we simply don’t have the time to choose, write and post them.

“In fact, our research found that Facebook was the top choice of social media tool to give thanks in 2014, with 98 per cent of those going digital using the platform.”

“But with one in ten people still appreciating a physical card, technology and tradition can go hand in hand. In just a few clicks, technology can bring the thank you letter into the modern era, making sending one as easy as a text or social media message.”

He added: “This ensures we don’t lose the personal touch a letter in the post can bring.”