BY Lucy Bannister | Thursday 24 March 2022
A Hull company has seen their sales soar over the last few years as demand for personalised gifts booms
Hull based giftware firm, Always Personal, have seen their online sales more than treble in the last two years. The Malmo Road based company, have benefited from a sharp rise in popularity for customised gifts. Demand for these items has hit record levels after the COVID-19 national lockdowns sparked a big shift in shopping habits.
“The pandemic clearly accelerated people's interest in buying more thoughtful and custom gifts, which are completely unique to the recipient,” said Rob Harbord, Managing Director at Always Personal.
“By personalising items with messages and photos, people are able to draw on shared experiences and trigger memories of their happiest times.
“This has played its part in keeping friends and family together, even when they were physically forced apart during the most challenging periods of the pandemic.”
Data from online marketing tool AHRefs reveals there has been a 31% rise in the number of searches for personalised gifts online, since the first COVID-19 national lockdown in the UK.
The search data shows that mugs, number plates, phone cases and necklaces are the most sought-after items to customise. However, the pandemic has also led to interest in alternative customised gifts for the home. Since March 2020, there has been a 350% increase in UK consumers searching for personalised bar signs and an 800% rise in people looking for personalised cheese boards. With many people rediscovering a love for their garden, searches for custom gardening tools meanwhile has also risen by 140%.
Demand for personalised gifts peaked during the lockdown periods, when UK retail shops were forced to close. The biggest spike came in the November of 2020 when over 400,000 consumers searched for “personalised gifts” in the run up to Christmas. Expert research commissioned at the time suggested that £750m had been spent by UK shoppers on customised items.
Appetite for custom online presents has remained strong ever since, even despite the lifting of COVID restrictions. December 2021 saw 30% more searches for personalised gifts than was seen in the same pre-pandemic month of 2019.
Whilst big brands like Marmite and Heinz have been capitalising on this growing trend with their own custom products, specialist gift companies like Always Personal have also benefited hugely from the boost in demand.
Following the shift in shopping habits in 2020, sales on their website have grown by 243%.
“Our keyrings, aprons, mugs and mouse mats have been particularly popular, and we’ve also seen a massive increase in demand for our personalised puzzles,” commented Rob.
One of the online retailer’s standout gifts has been their engraved Impossible Puzzles, for which they have received more than 12,000 orders.
These clear acrylic jigsaws were a massive hit during lockdown and proved the ideal gift to distract loved ones during periods of isolation.
“The possibilities really are limitless with personalised gifts,” Rob added. “And we’re constantly striving to introduce more and more items to our range, which give the customer something truly unique for any gifting occasion. From wedding and Valentine’s Day to stag do and baby shower presents!”
With experts predicting that the personalised gift market will grow into a £1bn business in 2022, this is a shopping trend that is likely to grow ever stronger in the years ahead.