Every christmas men struggle with the last-minute rush to find the perfect present for their partner.
Yet had they listened a little more closely to their wife or girlfriend in therun-upto the big day, they could have saved themselves a lot of stress.
Experts have identified four hinting styles that women use to try to ensure their favoured choice is placed under the christmas tree.
The problem is, they found, men are oblivious to the signals – four out of five miss the hints.
The study broke down what it dubbed'adventising'. Most women (56 per cent) were found to be 'pepper-hinters' or 'present pointers'. Next came 'Chinese whisperers' followed by 'careless listers'.
But despite all these tactics, less than a third of men picked up any of the subliminal messages – compared with more than half of women.
The report comes as it was revealed that more than a third of us have been disappointed by our partner’s choice of presents and one in six is left upset or angry.
Body language expert Professor Geoff Beattie advises women to use heavy verbal tips to their partners to get what they want. He added: 'Hinting is an important part of everyday social interaction but to do this successfully it is vital that gender differences are taken into account'.
'Women know what they want and are increasingly turning to "adventising" in order to get it – using clues to advertise to men what they want for christmas.'
'However, their covert suggestions can at times fall on deaf earsand men are missing out on a massive two thirds of crucial hints dropped by the ladies in their life.'
For the study, which was commissioned by Boots, male volunteers watched a video that depicted a couple chatting in the run-up to christmas. The film showed the various hinting styles, with most men unable to identify them.
Recent research by the National Autonomous University of Mexico found that women are more adept at shopping than men because they are better at recalling landmarks – helpful when trying to get back to a dress they may have seen two hours earlier.