They are the season’s must-have accessory without which, apparently, no Christmas party will be complete.
Sales of “selfie sticks” are set to keep soaring ahead of the festive period to give revellers the chance to take the perfect group portrait on their smartphone to post on Instagram and Twitter.
The gadget, already widely available in the US and Asia, is popular on the red carpet as fans try to grab a picture of themselves with their favourite celebrity in the background.
Last week’s MTV Europe awards in Glasgow featured dozens of the devices, essentially a pole attached to a smartphone.
Increasingly, though, they are being used to snap images of groups of friends and at tourist attractions around the country.
Already the number sold has rocketed in the UK, jumping 301 per cent in the three months from September to November compared with the number sold between June and August this year, according to Amazon.
“The rise of the selfie has reached new heights with the launch of the selfie stick,” said a spokesman for the massive online retailer.
“In the run-up to Christmas, we’ve seen a significant jump in selfie stick sales with people preparing to capture all the action of festive parties and family get-togethers.”
UK company Selfie Pods, which launched earlier this year, said it had sold a record 6,000 selfie sticks between August and November – and expected to sell out of its stock of 5,000 more before Christmas.
The device lets mobile users capture more of themselves and their friends than is possible by holding their phones at arm’s length. A bluetooth controller allows a picture to be taken remotely, using the front-facing camera to frame the image.
“We decided to start selling selfie sticks in the UK after seeing how popular they are in Asia, and thought we could sell a fair amount here over time. But we have been blown away by how popular they have become,” said Selfie Pods founder Neil Harvey.
“People find they are a perfect stocking filler.”
He added: “The age of the selfie is upon us, and that doesn’t necessarily mean sitting in your bedroom taking pictures of yourself. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like, people are sharing pictures of their daily experiences that often involve them being with friends or relatives, doing something fun together. A selfie stick allows you to capture everything.”
Meanwhile, the gadget is already out of stock at some online stores following a pre-Christmas rush.