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E-Commerce Leader Wish Surveys Americans On How White Elephant Should Be Played

White Elephant Survey Findings Include Optimal Rules, Peak Week For Playing, Favorite Gifts To Bring and Receive

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Wish, the leading e-commerce platform for affordable goods, today brought the power of scientific surveying to a holiday enigma: the rules of popular gift-exchange game, White Elephant. The findings of the survey, conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Wish among over 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18+, reveal Americans' preferences on rules for playing the game, favorite gifts and most popular White Elephant themes. As a response to the findings, Wish developed the Wish Elephant gift guide with affordable gift ideas for America's fastest-growing holiday game.  Key findings include:

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  • Rising in Popularity: The percentage of Americans who've played White Elephant has nearly doubled now compared to more than 5 years ago (27% have played within the past year vs. 14% who played more than 5 years ago) – nearly 3 in 5 Americans (58%) have ever played the game
  • Peak White Elephant Season: The week of the holiday season when the most Americans (36%) think people are likeliest to play White Elephant is the 3rd week of December (12/15-12/21)
  • What Elephant?: Less than 1 in 5 Americans (17%) know the correct origin of how White Elephant got its name.
  • Unhappy Campers: Only 38% of Americans who've played White Elephant say they received a gift they wanted the last time they played
  • People Don't Want To Gift What They'd Want To Receive: Americans who've played White Elephant would most prefer to bring gag gifts, but they would actually prefer to receive household items
  • More Popular on the West Coast: Those residing in the West are most likely to have ever played White Elephant (71% vs. 50% in the Northeast, 55% in the South, and 57% in the Midwest)


  • Ideal Number of Players: Americans say the ideal number of total players for a White Elephant game is 11, on average.
  • Majority of Americans Agree On A Limit of $25 or less: Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) say the ideal price limit for a White Elephant gift is $25 or less.
  • 3 Steals Should Be The Maximum: Nearly half of Americans (45%) believe there should be a maximum number of times a White Elephant gift can be stolen; on average, Americans say the maximum number of times a White Elephant gift can be stolen should be 3 times.
  • Rules Many Americans Want Eliminated:
  1. The standard rule that many Americans would most want to eliminate is the Timeout rule - nearly 1 in 4 Americans (24%) say the rule they would most want to eliminate is the Timeout rule. This rule doesn't allow guests to steal from each other until all the gifts are opened, and then the timer is set to count down for a set number of minutes where a continuous gift stealing takes place.
  2. Another standard rule that about 1 in 5 Americans (19%) would most want to eliminate is the Tired Elephant rule - if a gift gets stolen a certain amount of times, then this gift is out of the game and so is the person holding it last (19%).
  3. The standard rule that close to 1 in 5 Americans (18%) would most want to eliminate is First In, Last Out rule - since the first player is the only one without the option of seeing any unwrapped gifts, this player is allowed to take one final turn after all of the gifts have been opened and swap with any ''unfrozen'' gift  (18%).

"White Elephant is one of the most popular holiday games, yet players rarely seem to agree on the rules or how much to spend," said Glenn Lehrmann, VP of Communications, Wish. "As a leader in affordable goods, Wish felt compelled to take a scientific approach to settling the debate once and for all. We created the Wish Elephant Official Rules and Gift Guide, curating gift selections at $15, $25 and $35 price points, to help simplify the shopping and gift-giving process for White Elephant players this holiday season."

To see all of the gifts Wish has curated for Wish Elephant this holiday season, from meat socks to belly fanny packs, to makeup brushes, accessories and more, visit: https://photos.pixlee.com/wishshopping-wishelephant.

Survey Method:
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Wish from November 4-6, 2019 among 2,029 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,177 have ever played White Elephant. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Jill Fox at jfox@extensionpr.com.

About Wish
Founded in 2010 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wish is a leading e-commerce platform, putting a digital shopping mall of affordable goods directly in the pockets of consumers worldwide. Wish employs big data principles, machine-learning, and state-of-the-art search technologies to create a highly-visual, entertaining, and personalized browsing experience for each user. The company leverages a global network of direct suppliers, providing access to top quality, affordable products to anyone with a smartphone. As of 2018, Wish has more than 80 million monthly active users, over one million merchants, and sells nearly 1 billion products annually. For more information about the company or to download the Wish mobile app, please visit www.wish.com or follow @WishShopping on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


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