According to “Juvenile Products Report: 2012” from The NPD Group, the percent of U.S. consumers who buy gifts, across occasions such as birthdays or new babies, for kids up to 2 years of age in a typical year has declined from 40% in 2010 to 37% in 2012. However, while gift giving has declined, the average price paid for new baby gifts has increased significantly for all recipients.

With an average spend of $87 per new baby gift – an increase of $15, or 21%, since 2010 – no other gift recipient category has increased as much as grandchildren, making grandparents the biggest spenders for baby gifts. Excluding grandparents, those buying new baby gifts are spending between $27 and $53 on a gift, an increase of between 8% and 36% depending on the relationship to the recipient.

“With the shift in gift purchases away from clothing/layette toward more practical items like bathing and feeding gifts, think we’re seeing the impact of the slow economy at work,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Fewer people are buying gifts, but when they do, they are spending more and focusing on more basic necessities.”

According to the report, baby registries remain a popular way for moms to convey gift desires from specific retail outlets. Seventy-eight percent of moms who have recently had a child have created baby registries for their children, a 1% increase over 2010.

For those buying gifts, 70% of those buying for a friend’s child will at least sometimes buy from a registry.  Even among grandparents, which is the group least likely to use a registry, almost half (48%) occasionally choose turn to a registry for gift giving.

SALES BY CHANNEL AND CATEGORY

The mass merchants channel is the most popular for juvenile product gift purchases, followed by department stores and baby stores. Online retailers were as likely to be shopped as children’s clothing stores, but slightly below that of toy stores.

Looking at category sales performance, Clothing & Layette remains the most common juvenile products category purchased as a gift in the past year (71%), followed by Toys (57%), and then Books/Music/Video (42%). Diapering & Laundry and Feeding have seen notable increases in the number of purchasers this year.  Although the Clothing and Layette category is the most commonly purchased category for a juvenile gift, it has declined in popularity by five percentage points since 2010.

[Source: “Juvenile Products Report: 2012.”  The NPD Group.  17 Sept. 2012.  Web?  19 Sept. 2012.]