Marketers Target Book Givers and Receivers During Holidays

As is the case with many other products, book sales tend to spike around the holiday season. Consumers have long been in the habit of giving and bookstorereceiving books for Christmas and that sentiment extends to Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Nielsen took an in-​depth look at this sector recently and their findings can help marketers position their offerings to maximum advantage this season.

Nielsen analysts report that about 25% of all print book sales occurred in the last quarter in 2012. Specifically, sales peaked from the end of October through the end of December. A similar sales pattern is anticipated this year.

In total, about 4% of all book purchases are made with the intention of giving them as gifts during any given year. Of that amount, about 1% are destined to be a Christmas gift. Clearly, consumers maintain a strong interest in the book market. Recently, though, consumers have been purchasing books through a variety of channels.  About half of all books are sold online while about 45% of sales take place in brick and mortar stores.

To craft a promotion, marketers should consider why consumers purchase books. The Nielsen research reveals the following reasons:

  • Recipient enjoys topic/​subject
  • Giver enjoys giving books as gifts
  • Recipient asked for this book

Specific demographic groups also tend to give and receive specific types of books. Mom, wives, and women, in general, will find cookbooks underneath the wrapping paper. Fiction is another popular topic for female readers. Men, especially dads, can expect to be reading spy or sports stories once the holiday gifts are all unwrapped. And, grandparents enjoy buying books at traditional stores for their grandchildren.

E‑readers continue to be popular with 7.5% of book buyers making these purchases. The Kindle Fire (29%), Kindle (21%), and Nook (12%) are  top picks by consumers. Tablets are slightly less popular with book buyers as only 6% make this purchase and Apple rules here with 31% of the market going to an iPad or iPad mini.

Are you working with book marketers this season? What promotional plans having been working best for your bookstore clients?

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.