“2016 is the year when the line between fiction and reality is blurred,” Michael Cronholm of HUI Research said at the annual press conference announcing the winner, a pair of Virtual Reality (VR) glasses.
“They can be used at the doctor's, in shops and even companies can benefit from the technology,” he added.
The criteria for Sweden's Christmas gift of the year ('årets julklapp') are that it must be trendy, a hot seller and represent the times in which we live, according to the institute.
Michael Cronholm enjoying a pair of VR glasses. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT
After a turbulent year for the world, when 'post-truth' became the word of the year, the irony of a pair of virtual reality glasses was not lost on the Swedes.
“Christmas present of the year after a year of much misery in the world are VR glasses. If only it were possible to think of a joke about that,” tweeted one Swede.
Årets julklapp efter ett år med en massa elände i världen är VR-glasögon. Om det bara gick att komma på något skämt om det
— Anders Sundell (@AndersSundell) November 22, 2016
“Wonder if they'll end up in the wardrobe next to the juice maker and the acupressure mat,” mused another who did not believe the techy glasses would end up the most prized possession of every Svensson.
Årets julklapp: VR-glasögon. Undrar om de hamnar i garderoben bredvid råsaftcentrifugen och spikmattan…
— Tor Borg (@Tor_Borg) November 22, 2016
2016 marks the 29th consecutive year that the institute has published its prediction for the gift most likely to be snapped up from the shelves by keen shoppers in the run-up to Christmas.
The tradition began back in 1988 when the baking machine was nominated. Previous winners also include a cookbook, perfume, mobile phone, acupressure mat and an electronic pet.
HUI expects record sales this holiday season. Christmas shopping, covering all retail sales in December, is expected to increase by 3.5 percent to 77.7 billion kronor ($8.43 billion).