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Christmas shopping can be as stressful as running a marathon, researchers warn

 Christmas shopping is supposed to be more fun than running a marathon, surely?

FESTIVE shopping is an important part of the pre-Christmas experience for some people and, sometimes, battling fellow shoppers to stock up on presents, food and shiny baubles can lead to some undue stress.

But a new study suggests Christmas shopping may be far more stress-inducing than previously thought. We are talking about “running a marathon” kind of stress.

A study conducted by e-commerce giant eBay and tech firm Lightwave, which gathers and processes biometric data, showed that heart rates increased by 33% while Christmas shopping – that’s almost equivalent to taking part in a long-distance running event.

Volunteers were set a test to locate items – consisting of a “gift” list for hypothetical “family members” – during a 60-minute shopping trip around Central London. A time limit of 10 minutes was assigned for each “gift” item.

Christmas shopping.


All the 100 participants wore Lightwave wearable devices that gathered information on the wearer’s skin temperature, heart rate, blood volume pulse, skin activity and body movements.

Using neuroscience techniques and data analysis, researchers found that 60% of the shoppers reached fatigue just 32 minutes into their shopping spree and interest levels dropped shortly after.

Also 88% of shoppers experienced tachycardia – a heart rate disorder that exceeds the normal resting rate and can sometimes lead to chest pain, breathlessness and light-headedness.

(Lauren Hurley/PA)


Researchers recommend shoppers should do their festive gift buying in short bursts which they call “High Intensity Interval Shopping” instead of going on a long shopping spree to reduce stress.

“The study shows that short bursts of shopping can make you less stressed and potentially more thoughtful in your buying habits this Christmas,” said Rhian Bartlett, retail director at eBay.

“Bite size browsing, such as taking 10 minutes to shop via mobile on commute or purchasing single items during a lunch break can decrease stress and promote more mindful shopping.”

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