The results are in! And BRISTOL tops the charts when it comes to the most thoughtful cities in the UK.

Have a look at what makes Bristol so remarkable here:
Visit Bristol - Official Bristol Tourist Information Site

A new report from our sales at Bombus reveals some interesting trends regarding the UK’s most thoughtful and caring towns and cities, showing who has some of the biggest hearts when it comes to personalised gifts purchased for family, friends, colleagues and loved ones.

It’s been quite a year, and the trends in online gifting were exciting and emotional. With so many social connections being lost to the pandemic, people turned to sentimental gifts to express their love and friendship to those they missed most. But who were the most thoughtful over the past, difficult, twelve months?

Well, we ran the data…and this is what we found.

The results

The UK’s top 20 most thoughtful towns and cities (calculated by total volume of gifts purchased per capita of population) uses data for the period 1st October 2020 to 31st March 2021 and identifies the following order:

Position Location Position Location
1st Bristol 11th Bedford
2nd Newcastle 12th Southampton
3rd Oxford 13th Edinburgh
4th Nottingham 14th Maidstone
5th Reading 15th Manchester
6th Derby 16th Brighton
7th Exeter 17th Cardiff
8th Glasgow 18th Stoke
9th Norwich 19th Coventry
10th Aberdeen 20th Dartford

We did notice in the studio, that a lot of our orders remained in the South East! And whether that was due to people truly trying to SHOP LOCAL remains to be seen, but out of all regions of the UK, the South East has the most cities and towns ranking in the top 20.

This makes the South East officially the biggest hearted region in the UK!

Shop Small, Shop Local

Shopping Local IS important. But we like to think that the whole of the UK is local to Bombus. After all, we are all about the maps, and the most beautiful maps in the world are of our small little island (and no, we’re not just saying that, look!)

There are a lot of campaigns at the moment about how important it is to support small independent businesses. Have a look at this article here that makes a superb case for why we should all be ditching mass produced consumerism for the more unique!

Towns that were busy doing something else…

At the opposite end of the altruistic scale there were some surprises, with several larger towns and cities such as Carlisle, Halifax, Lincoln, Doncaster and Newport showing gifting tendencies significantly below the nationwide average.

But it’s not all about the volume of sales.

Whilst being in the top 20 towns and cities is a strong indication of how thoughtful, romantic or caring the location is for gifting per capita of population, the towns and cities listed below can also lay some claim to having the biggest hearts as they led the way in the actual propensity to buy a gift v the websites average in this period, which was 3.1%.

Farnborough’s propensity to buy was 8.8%

Bath’s propensity to buy was 7.3%

Guildford’s propensity to buy was 7.1%

Harrogate’s propensity to buy was 6.9%

Rochdale’s propensity to buy was 6.7%

Hemel Hempstead’s propensity to buy was 6.4%

What were the reasons for such a huge number of thoughtful gifts being sent out? 

We asked our Director Amelia to give us some insights.

“The nation missed their Mums. We saw a huge lift in people sending keepsake gifts and thinking of you cards. Not just around Mother’s Day, but for the whole of last year. People really missed their Mums and were desperate for that long-awaited hug.

All of the gifts from Bombus can be personalised with a meaningful message, so people were sending hugs through the post to their loved ones. But lately the messages have become much more optimistic and hopeful as there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

One of our most popular gifts over Mother’s Day was our handmade Daffodil Bottle Keepsake. And we can see why it hit a chord. Not only is it a symbol of spring, a beautiful forever flower, and something that easily fits through the post…it can also be personalised with your own special message. This means it was simply perfect for people to send to their Mums, to tell them how much they missed them.

Our most popular message? ‘Mum, Thank you for Helping me Grow.’

Regional Differences

When the volume of gifts purchased is broken down across the home nations, England dominates with 86.9% of all purchases, followed by Scotland 7.8%, Wales 3.7% and N. Ireland 1.6%.

Despite the huge volume of sales attributed to England, Scotland has THREE cities in the top 20 most thoughtful towns. This proves what we’ve known all along, that the Scots do indeed have some of the most generous and thoughtful hearts.

Outside of the UK, the most thoughtful international cities for buying gifts for loved one’s were Sydney, Melbourne, San Antonio, Singapore, Paris, New York and Dubai.

Across all nations, the sentiments behind the gifts were the same. Thinking of you, thank you, and missing you.

What sort of people were shopping for thoughtful gifts?

In terms of the individuals behind these gift transactions during the 6-month report period, the following gender and age brackets were the most likely to purchase a gift for someone they care about.

Women completed 69% of all transactions

25-34 years old were the most likely group to purchase a gift (27.7% of transactions)

35-44 years old were the second most likely group to purchase a gift (18.1% of transactions)

What we have also seen, is that over the course of the pandemic there has been a huge lift in people over the age of 65 purchasing gifts over the internet.

If there is anything positive to come out of the last year, it could be said that it is the opportunities it has brought to encourage the older generations to adapt to new technology. We hope that the trend continues and that online businesses adapt and support this new demographic as much as possible.

Based on the messages that accompany a Bombus gift, the people buying gifts were friends purchasing something special for their best friends, daughters choosing something to send to their Mum, and family members reaching out to those they had been unable to see for several months.

What were people buying?

The categories that saw the biggest volume of sales were ‘Thinking of You Gifts’, and ‘Thank You Gifts’. Which shows just how thoughtful and considerate the intentions were behind these purchases.

With Mother’s Day in the UK still carrying a number of restrictions on travel, ‘Missing You’ gifts and messages of thanks were very popular when it came to adults sending extra special keepsakes to their Mums who may have been shielding or too far away to visit.

There was also a big lift in last minute sentimental gifts at Christmas.

Once the rules were changed to lockdown over the holiday, a number of purchases were those who were making promises of future celebrations, and emotional expressions of how much their loved ones would be missed. Our most popular gift at Christmas was this:

Best Selling Products

Some of our best-selling gifts purchased across all geographic locations are listed below by category:

Thinking of You Gifts

Thinking of you Gifts
I love you because....wooden flowers, Keepsake flower message bottle, Personalised map location keepsake star decorations, Personalised engraved campervan keyring,

Thinking of You, Celebration, and Birthday Cards

Thank You Gifts

Thank You Gifts
Personalised map travel notebook, Personalised map heart keepsake

Nursery Gifts

Nursery Gifts
Rainbow bookend, Set of three map wooden letters

Personalised Map Gifts

Personalised map location square, Personalised map wooden postcard, Personalised miniature map heart frame

Birthday Gifts for Her

Birthday Gifts for Her
Personalised map location pocket mirror, Personalised hanging map wooden heart, Map location butterfly miniature frame, Personalised engraved dog keepsake

Romantic Gifts

Romantic Gifts
Personalised map location heart print, Personalised map location heart keyring, Personalised two map heart location print, Where it all began square map print, You are my universe keepsake bottle, Personalised map location bottle keepsake

New Home Gifts

New Home Gifts
Map location heart bookends, Map location wall hexagons, Map location wooden house ornament, Map location letter bookends

Craft Gifts for Children

Crafts Gifts for Kids
Crafy DIY Christmas tree, Engraved flower press, Children's colour in hanging rainbow

Christmas Gifts

Christmas Gifts
Personalise engrave star place name, Hanging music bottle decoration, Christmas tree card, Map location Christmas tree ornament

Valentine's Gifts

Valentines Gifts
Personalised map heart balloon card, Personalised map location valentines day heart card

Mother's Day Gifts

Mother's Day Gifts
Liberty butterfly mother's day card, Liberty hen mother's day card, Liberty penguin mother's day card, Map location butterfly print

About the data in this release

Generated bi-annually in April and October for previous 6-month period

Source of data combines Magento platform, Google Analytics and postal software

Data compares 10,000s of transactions including those from ETSY