Stevens, PA—Tis the season to be jolly, but for many gift givers this year, shopping for those holiday presents will be far from a joy.
That’s the word from the latest research by Unity Marketing which predicts this year’s gifter will “be checking price tags and buying more practical gifts than in the past, a reflection of feelings about the U.S. and global economy.”
“In previous years, the gifting market has been dominated by a personality we call the ‘Last Minute Gifter,’ a person who rushes to the stores the week or night before a holiday like Christmas, spending with great abandon in an effort to meet their gifting obligations,” says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of The Gifting Report 2012, a recent survey of nearly 2,000 gifters with data compared with survey results from prior years to show changes and trends in consumer behavior.
Instead, this year’s gifter could be appropriately be called the “Challenged Gifter.” With Unity’s research showing that gifting consumers are more likely to buy useful or practical gifts (hence a rise in gift cards), there’s a greater tendency to check price tags before selecting a gift.
“It is no wonder that we are seeing a surge in ‘Challenged Gifters,’ the gifters who find the entire gifting process–from going to the store to selecting a gift to wrapping it and giving it–to be more of an ordeal than a joy,” Danziger adds.
Despite the fact that the Great Recession was declared officially over, its far-reaching impact pervades consumers’ buying behaviors.
Retailers Need to Beef Up Online Presence
“Based on our research, we recommend marketers and retailers make Christmas 2012 an effortless one for cash-strapped, stressed-out gifters,” says Danziger. “This means beefing up your online presence to facilitate shopping from home as well as going mobile for those who choose to shop by phone and online kiosks or notepad access for in-store shoppers.”
In addition, retailers would be wise to offer personal shopping services where their in-store advisers “knowledgeable about the store merchandise selection work with harried shoppers to find that special gift.”
Similarly, retailers should make returns as painless as possible to encourage relationships with shoppers and make them want to return.
“And of course, retailers should make every effort to take care of small tasks like gift wrapping and shipping. The more barriers to purchase you can remove, the more likely today’s gifter is to buy,” Danziger says.
To learn more about the behavior of the gifting consumer, start with the Gifting Report 2012. The report is filled with research-based findings that describe consumer gifting behavior, including where gifters shop, when, for whom, and what they buy. The Gifting Report 2012 is filled with recent data, historic comparisons, and actionable strategies to help marketers navigate the new world of gifting.
Accessories Make the Top 10 Gift List
According to Unity’s Gifting Report, the top gift picks are chocolates, and women’s and men’s clothing. Included in the to 10 gift selections are gift cards from discount department stores, department stores and Internet/online. Women’s accessories came in at No. 9 on the list.
No. 1: Books 51%
No. 2: Chocolates, (gift boxed or pick-your-own) 45%
No. 3: Men’s Clothing 36%
No. 3: Women’s Clothing 36%
No. 4: Bath & Body Soaps and Lotions 34%
No. 4: Gift Card: Discount department stores and discount mass merchants or discounters websites (such as Walmart, Kmart, Target, Sam’s Club, Kohl’s, and other discount department stores) 34%
No. 5: Games/Puzzles 31%
No. 5: Toys, including action figures, building sets, sports toys, vehicles 31%
No. 6: Dining/Restaurant experience 29%
No.6: Candles and/or candle accessories 29%
No. 7: Flowers, plants and/or garden accessories, including cut flowers and bouquets28%
No. 7: Children’s Clothing 28%
No. 7: Gift Cards: Department stores or department store websites (such as JCPenney, Sears, Dillard’s, Macy’s, etc.) 28%
No.8: Fragrance/Perfume 24%
No.8: Wine and/or Wine Tasting Gifts 24%
No.9: Women’s Fashion Accessories (such as handbags, belts, wallets, scarves, shawls, etc.) 23%
No.9: Video/DVDs 23%
No. 10: Gift Cards: Internet or Online websites (such as Amazon.com, eBay.com, etc,) 22%