By Craig Zammit

SYDNEY: Online auction sites such as eBay,, and are experiencing a strong post Christmas rush as consumers look to offload unwanted gifts received during the holiday period, including several small appliances.

According to eBay, Australians wasted $685 million on 22.4 million unwanted gifts in 2004. In 2005, they wasted $707 million on 13.3 million gifts with the average price increasing 43 per cent to $53.

The most prolifically sold products on internet auction sites for the post Christmas period were coffee machines (making up 7.5 per cent of all small appliances), microwaves (4.2 per cent) and chocolate fondue sets (3 per cent). Other products with high sell rate include slow cookers, magic bullets, citrus juicers, and blenders.

Research conducted by the Australia Institute even claimed that half of Australians expect to receive an unwanted gift at Christmas, and that people earning over $70,000 were most likely to both give and receive unwanted gifts.

Research conducted by the Australian Centre for Retail Studies found 10 per cent of people who receive a gift voucher will fail to redeem it before the expiry date. Vouchers are estimated to represent two per cent or $4 billion of the $200 billion of annual retail sales.