Unwanted presents on sale online

Shane Wright Economics Editor

Australians will not be regifting their Christmas presents - they're more likely to sell them and pocket the cash for something they truly want.

A survey for online classified advertising firm Gumtree suggests a mountain of unwanted, undesired and even hideous presents will find their way to websites to be sold.

About 70 per cent of those quizzed in the poll said they knowingly bought "undesirable" presents.

Gumtree says that equates to about 20 million presents valued at an estimated $520 million.

According to the online site, West Australians are not the worst when it comes to giving unwanted gifts. About 61 per cent of people in WA said they get at least one unwanted gift at Christmas, compared with 66 per cent in Queensland and 63 per cent of people in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.

It estimates there will be about 2.2 million unwanted gifts opened by West Australians over Christmas.

Those gifts had a nominal value of $57 million. Among those on the receiving end, more than half said they had unwrapped an unwanted present on Christmas morning.

In about 80 per cent of cases, the present was something the receiver said they would never use. In 20 per cent of cases, these people thought the present was also hideous.

Work colleagues and in-laws are the worst offenders for unwanted presents under the Christmas tree.

But Gumtree spokeswoman Niki Hennessy said the company noted a 25 per cent jump in listings after Christmas.

"Given the increasing number of unwanted gifts, we expect to see even more Australians listing items for sale on Gumtree this year," she said.

The theory of unwanted Christmas presents has a long history.

Economist Joel Waldfogel, in a 1993 paper, estimated that unwanted gifts in the US caused between $US4 billion and $US13 billion in economic waste.

In today's figures, that's between $US7 billion and $22 billion.