Research - Photobox Group - 25 Jul 2018

UK Turning To Tech To Boost Emotional Intelligence

According to our latest research, more than one in three (35%) 16-24 year olds believe that technology can help them become more emotionally intelligent, with 55% saying it will help them be more aware of others’ feelings.

The research also reveals that nearly one in two (45%) young people believe AI (artificial intelligence) will be better than them at finding a gift for a loved one within the next two years, with 48% stating they’d trust technology to help create a personalised gift vs just 13% of over 55s.

We looked into how technology will impact emotional intelligence and the role machines will play in the millennia-old tradition of gifting.


Despite increasingly sharing moments together online, real gifts still matter, with almost a billion exchanging hands in the UK every year – 18 per person – according to the research. Women give on average 20 gifts per year – six more than their male counterparts and peak gift-giving age is 25-34 (21 a year), declining to just 14 for the over 55s.


While half (51%) of young people believe it’s the thought that counts when giving a gift, one in three (31%) admit experiencing anxiety trying to find the right one, with 44% worried about knowing what their loved one will like. 29% are also concerned they’re too swayed by their own personal preference.

“Technology can, and is, enhancing young people’s emotional intelligence” said Jody Ford, CEO, Photobox Group.

“Gifting is a strong indicator of emotional intelligence, with people embracing technology to help boost the impact of what they’re giving and the thought that goes into it. Our tech team now works in tandem with qualified psychologists to ensure we build not just smart products for our customers, but emotionally intelligent ones too.”

The research comes as we roll out a series of new AI-enabled services that help consumers create even more thoughtful personalised gifts, identifying the most powerful pictures to help tell their story.

Technology goes beyond helping younger people with the creation of gifts. More than one in two young people (52%) say they rely on tools such as Facebook to remind them of when a birthday is taking place. Furthermore, 29% use Instagram and online influencers to find inspiration for gifts – while only 19% look to their friends or family for advice.

While the findings point towards a future in which technology has an interdependent relationship with people, the report also shows a clear generational divide on how people are using technology and sharing gifts now.

Just 10% of the 55 plus bracket believe technology can make them more emotionally intelligent. And only 8% believe AI is better equipped at selecting a gift than they are. While younger people see technology as a helpful tool, those that are 55 plus need more convincing.