Unity Marketing estimates that the gifting market totals $131.3 billion, and represents approximately $1 out of every $10 spent in the type of stores that fill America’s malls and shopping centers, the big boxes that line the streets and highways and the shops along main streets across the country, according toåÊGifting in 21st Century Style White Paper. And increasingly, more of those gifting dollars are not going to those stores at all, but being spent online, as gifters turn to the Internet to select, research and buy gifts.

“The incredible build-up retailers make around the Christmas holiday shopping season is no longer paying off. Yearly retail sales quarter-to-quarter are flattening out and retailers’ chance to sell to the gift giver isn’t an end-of- the-year opportunity any longer, but one that extends throughout the entire year,” says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of the Gifting Report, based upon a survey among 1,650 gift shoppers (avg. income $97.9k).

Christmas gifting settles into ‘new normal’

The study reveals that gifters spent an average of $1,851 on gifts and gift wrap, cards and other gifting accessories in the most recent year. Approximately 45% of that spending went toward buying Christmas gifts, down from 48% in 2009. Further spending on Christmas gifting, after rising in 2012, settled back to 2009 levels last year, according to Danziger.

“For Christmas 2015, we don’t expect to see much change,” Danziger explains. “Some 70% of gift shoppers expect to spend the same on gifts in 2015 as they did in 2014, which doesn’t bode well for fourth quarter 2015. Retailers will need to pull some real magic out of their hats to get gift shoppers excited and spending this coming holiday season.”

“While Christmas gift spending was flat from 2009 to 2014, overall spending on gifting increased 6.4%, meaning the opportunity for retailers to grow their share of the gifting market largely rests on attracting gift shoppers throughout the rest of the year, for other holidays and gifting occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and so on,” Danziger writes.

Amazon.com surges ahead to be gifters’ favorite shopping destination, knocking out Target & Walmart, tied as their favorites in 2010

In addition, a new section of the study is devoted to how gifters use the internet in planning their gift purchases, researching where to buy and prices, and ordering online. “Internet shopping for gifts is a real game changer that is disrupting the gifting market, having replaced discount department stores and mass merchants, including the websites of those stores, as their preferred gift shopping destinations. That means Target, Walmart, Kohl’s and others are losing a big share of the gifting business to Amazon.com, eBay.com, Groupon.com, Etsy.com and other etailers.”

Danziger concludes, “While the annual year-end holiday gifting season receives the lion’s share of marketer and retailer attention when it comes to the gifting market, the reality is that gifting represents a significant marketing opportunity throughout the whole year. Out of the typical gifters’ annual gifting budget, Christmas accounts for slightly less than half of the total. The majority of gift purchases are made the rest of the year.”

“Marketers and retailers need to understand the gift-buying and shopping behavior of customers in order to attract them and meet their needs with suitable gift ideas and gift shopping experiences.”

Now that you’re focused on gifters, gain some knowledge on how those gifters shop online. AudienceSCAN data says that 53% of E-Commerce Shoppers are female and 41% primarily use iPhones. 39% of E-Commerce Shoppers go past the first page of their search results. In the past 6 months, 19% bought items seen on Craigslist. E-Commerce Shoppers aren’t necessarily doing their research online: 14% think mailed ads/fliers provide the best information for comparing prices, and 10% think blogs do the trick. However, 38% took action based on their sponsored search results (like on Google, Yahoo or Bing) in the past month.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports inåÊAdMall.