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Christmas shopping habits examined by sociology student

* 27 November 2002 *

Christmas shopping habits examined by sociology student

Photo of Lucia
Done all your Christmas shopping yet? Or will you be one of the many people still frantically running round the shops on Christmas Eve?

Lucia Glover, a sociology student at the University of Sussex, is doing her final year project on the topic of Christmas shopping and examining the different ways people approach it.

"I'm trying to find out how people do their Christmas shopping and why they give particular gifts to certain individuals," says Lucia. "For example, I want to know if they differentiate between family and friends and whether they go out to shop with a plan or whether it's more spontaneous."

Lucia has been interviewing consumers of all ages, sexes and income groups including single mothers at a drop-in centre in Whitehawk in Brighton and asking them about their shopping habits.

"I'm expecting younger people perhaps to be more spontaneous when Christmas shopping, and also for those with lower incomes to have more of a fixed budget," explains Lucia.

"I've also been looking at differences between men and women in the way they shop, and I'm expecting women possibly to be more focussed on what they are buying and maybe to have planned their shopping more than men."

Lucia will re-interview the people after Christmas and see whether they were happy with how their Christmas shopping had gone.

 "A project like this gives the students first-hand experience of collecting and analysing data themselves," says Lucia's sociology tutor, Dr Jenny Shaw. "It's a much steeper learning curve when they are doing hands-on research and learning as much by their mistakes as by their successes."

As for Lucia's own Christmas shopping habits, her studies and her forthcoming 21st birthday on 19 December are proving something of a distraction.

"I've been really bad this year," she admits. "Usually I'd have some ideas already but, since I've been doing this project, Christmas just makes me think of work!"

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