Tap into the Gifting Market

by | 4 minute read

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.

Ama​zon​.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 Ama​zon​.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.

Courtney Huckabay
Court­ney is the Edi­tor for Sales­Fu­el Today. She ana­lyzes sec­ondary cus­tomer research and our pri­ma­ry Audi­enceS­CAN research. Court­ney is a grad­u­ate of Mid­dle Ten­nessee State Uni­ver­si­ty.