A Helping Hand: Money Gifting around the World

From help with a first car to a down-payment on a home, more than half of us around the world have received money as a gift from our parents, partners, friends or other relatives. We surveyed respondents in the UK, USA, India and China to explore money gifting traditions. Here’s where that money goes.

Parent gifting

Did you know more than half of us will receive a financial gift from our parents over the course of our lives? Although the statistics vary across the world, they are fairly consistent at around 50%.

Differences around the world

The reasons we receive money from our parents differ around the world. Here are the three most common situations for gifting money split by country. 

UK:
House - 70%
Car - 69%
Wedding - 67%
China:
House - 80%
University tuition - 72%
Wedding - 68% 
US:
Wedding - 73%
University tuition - 69%
Car - 61%
India:
University tuition - 62%
Rent payment - 56%
Bucket list dream - 47%

Men vs Women — top three reasons

Men and women differ too. Overall, women receive slightly more money gifts from parents than men (55% vs 52%). 

On average the top three reasons men received money gifts were for a house (68%), university tuition (64%) and to buy a car (56%). 

For women, the top three money gifts were for university tuition (68%), a house (66%), and a wedding (66%). 

The biggest differences? Men are 10% more likely to receive money than women for starting a business and 31% more likely to receive money to fund a bucket list dream. 

However, women are more likely than men to receive money from parents for weddings (+22%), cosmetic procedures (+13%) and paying off credit card debts and loans (+13%).

Which generation is generous?

Inevitably, with changing times comes differences in wealth and behaviours. However the generational differences may be less than you think: 

Of Millennials (aged 18-34), 52% received money gifts from their parents, whereas Gen-X (35-54) had a very similar 53% and Baby Boomers (55+) 59%.

So, how is all this money spent?

Cash for cars

Three quarters of people have received money for a car at least once, with 25% given money for a car on two or more occasions.

The average money gift size is £7,097 and parents are the #1 donors (57%) who put up money for a car, followed by partners and relatives (both 13%).

Houses

Rent 

Nearly half of all people have received money for rent 2-5 times. This was the highest for the 25-34 age group (51%). 

In fact, 16% received money gifts more than 6 times and this is continuing to rise. Money gifts for rent payments started to spike in the 1990s and have continued to increase (from 10% in the 1990s to 52% in the 2010s).

Purchasing a property 

In China, 39% of people received money towards buying a house, followed by 27% in the UK, 22% in the US and 17% in India. 

The average amount parents gift to children buying a house is £29,000. This varies greatly between countries: 

  • China - £52k
  • US - £20k
  • UK - £16k
  • India - £10k 

Of all the buyers, 43% would not have been able to afford their house without assistance.

Weddings

When it comes to weddings, 74% of people have received money on one occasion and 19% between 2-5 times. 

The most common amount (34%) is between £1,000 - £5,000 and the average amount, £7,895, is driven by China and India. 

Impressively, 3% of those aged 45-54 received a generous sum of between £100,000 - £500,000!

University study

It’s most common to receive money 2-5 times for university fees (with an average of 3.4) With the average gift amount at £5,477. 

The US ranked #1 for how much they get, with an average of £10,242. This is driven by 30% receiving upwards of £5,000. 

Parents were the highest-ranked contributors to uni fees (66% overall), with relatives coming in 2nd. 

Of the total, 34% would have not been able to afford university without gifted money.

Debt / Personal Finance

On average, most people have received money gifts to help pay off loans or credit card debt nearly three times in their life.

The majority of people (35%) received between £50 - £500, except in China, where £1,000 - £5,000 was the most common amount.

On average, men receive more than twice the amount women do (£7,026 vs £3,407). 

The biggest benefactors? 

  • Parents (42%)
  • Relatives (18%)
  • Partners (17%)
  • Friends (14%)

Starting a business

For starting a business, 59% of people have been gifted money. This is driven by China and India (62%). 

The most common amount is £1,000 - £5,000 and the average gift size is £26,903. But China eclipses all other countries with an average gift size of £48,218. 

Men receive almost twice the average amount that women do (£33,000 vs £17,000) and parents are the #1 donors for business start-ups (42%). 

Without the gift, 29% would not have been able to afford to start their business.

Travel

Two thirds (66%) of people have received money to help them travel overseas at least twice. 

In the US, 17% of lucky travellers received money up to 6 times. Globally, 37% received between £50 - £500 (£2,967 avg). However, people in China and the US received 37% and 44% above average respectively. With benefactors in the US ranked #1 for travel cash gifts at £4,277. 

On average, women receive almost 30% more than men for travelling.

Cosmetic procedures

Cosmetic procedure donations are actually more frequent than handouts for uni fees (3.5 vs 3.4 avg).

Almost 10% of recipients received money for procedures more than ten times! The most common amount received was up to £50 (driven by 40% in India). But the average was much higher at £4,166. 

Those who were gifted up to £5,000 made up 13% and those aged 35-44 had the highest average amount of £6,298.

Parents (30%) are the #1 donors, while partners rank close behind with 28% gifting money to their other halves for procedures. 

Random fact: 4% of men have received money from a neighbour and 3% of women have used Crowdfunding to finance their procedure.

Relationships (paying off an ex)

Nearly 50% of people say they have received monetary gifts to help pay off an ex-partner. The top-ranking countries by recipient are the UK (67%) and China (63%). 

The most common amount to gift was between £50 - £500. Behind China (averaging £21k), the UK has the next highest average amount spent on paying off exes (£8.7k). 

In China, 5% received between £100,000 - £500,000 to pay off an ex-partner.

Find out more about how you can send money gifts home or abroad with a Skrill account. You can send money direct to bank, to another Skrill wallet or a mobile wallet. Money transfers are quick, easy and free. 

Skrill has conducted a survey of respondents from the UK, China and the US, in partnership with Censuswide, to gain these insights. All figures refer to average money gifts.