Christmas shopping can make you dizzy with stress

Emma Woollacott
Pedestrian with shopping bags walking in downtown shopping area at Christmas
Pedestrian with shopping bags walking in downtown shopping area at Christmas

Christmas shopping really does take it out of you, it seems, with scientists saying that it's as stressful as running a marathon.

A biometric study of 100 shoppers by eBay has revealed that heart rates can increase by a third, and that skin temperatures and blood volume pulses soar.

The increased heart rate is comparable to that of a marathon runner, the researchers say.

At times, 88% of the shoppers had their heart rate hit 100 beats a minute, a condition known as tachycardia which can cause chest pain, breathlessness and light-headedness.

And while most shoppers started off feeling happy and excited by buying presents for friends and family, this wore off after an average of 32 minutes, leaving them worried and stressed instead.

The researchers suggest that Christmas shopping is best carried out in short bursts.

"The study shows that short bursts of shopping can make you less stressed and potentially more thoughtful in your buying habits this Christmas," eBay retail director Rhian Bartlett tells the Sun.

"Bite size browsing, such as taking ten minutes to shop via mobile on commute or purchasing single items during a lunch break can decrease stress and promote more mindful shopping."

The over-45s appeared to feel the pressure more than younger shoppers, and women become more stressed than men. However, seven in ten of the participants said that they still feel as if they are settling for second best when shopping for loved ones.

This year, according to Christmas Consumer Pulse Poll from advertising marketplace Rubicon Project, three quarters of Brits plan to shop online, with many saying they won't visit stores at all.

"UK consumers are increasingly looking for an easier way to navigate their way through what can traditionally be a stressful holiday season," says managing director UK & Nordics James Brown.

"The results of this study show that the savvy shopper is making the most of the convenience and efficiency that technology affords, by utilising digital shopping when they can."

However, another survey, from shopping centre owner Intu, reveals that there's a lot people enjoy about Christmas shopping in the real world, from festive lights and music to choosing Christmas food.

Says Roger Binks, customer experience director for Intu: "When it comes to shopping, we know that everyone has their own methods, rituals or habits."