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How America Gives Gifts in 2016: The Factors Beyond Bargain Hunting that Influence Shoppers' Gift-Giving Preferences

Blackhawk Network, gift brand, gift giving trends, gift shopping convenience, gift shopping price, gift shopping process, holiday bargain hunting, holiday research, holiday shoppers, Marketing, Pr, Public relations, Teri LlachShoppers bargain hunt while shopping for gifts, but considerations like the brand and a gift’s overall fit for the recipient are important factors, according to new holiday research from prepaid and payments global company Blackhawk Network, which has released a new study examining gift giving trends across age and income.

The report, How America Gives Gifts in 2016, surveyed more than 2,300 Americans in September 2016 to examine the factors they consider in gift giving, plans and preferences for holiday shopping and the impact the payment experience has in gift purchasing.

“Interestingly, amidst our price-conscious society, our research found that factors besides price may be more important in the gift shopping process,” said Teri Llach, chief marketing officer at Blackhawk Network, in a news release. “Despite shoppers’ fondness for bargain hunting, more than half of consumers surveyed say picking gifts that are a good fit for their recipients is a top priority, even more important than price and convenience. Brand is also an important factor. So, while price still certainly plays a role in gift giving, it is not the main driving force for more than half of the consumers we surveyed.”

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Consumers plan on spending and giving about the same as last year: The shoppers surveyed estimate they will spend about $740 on holiday gifts this year, compared to $755 last year.
  • Price is not the main driving force for gift selection: More than half of consumers surveyed (55 percent) say picking gifts that are a good fit for their recipients is a top priority, even more important than price (39 percent) and convenience (26 percent). Forty-two percent of consumers also say brand is an important factor when giving gifts.
  • Plastic is king: Most shoppers surveyed plan on using either their credit card (50 percent) or debit card (28 percent) when purchasing gifts. Additionally, credit card usage increases among shoppers with age and affluence, however, the opposite is true for debit card usage, which decreases with age and affluence.
  • Gifts are typically given in-person, regardless of how they are purchased: When shopping for gifts, shoppers surveyed favor in-store shopping (91 percent) slightly more than online shopping (75 percent). However, regardless of how the gift is purchased, 95 percent of shoppers give their gifts in-person.
  • Gift givers continue to love gift cards: Most shoppers surveyed (80 percent) plan on purchasing at least one gift card this holiday season, with most (81 percent) also estimating that up to half of their gifts this year could be gift cards. These results align with the importance of brands to consumers, as gift cards are an extension of branded value.
  • Gift giving preferences vary by generation: The millennials surveyed are more likely to research gifts online and bargain hunt. Re-gifting, while rare overall, is also more common among the millennials surveyed than older generations.
  • Gender plays a role in preferences when it comes to shopping for gifts: More of the women surveyed (93 percent) tend to describe themselves as the primary gift buyer for their household than men (70 percent). When it comes to shopping for gifts online, men tend to prefer using a desktop/laptop (61 percent), while women tend to use their smartphone (30 percent). Women are also partial to coupons (63 percent) and Groupon offers (27 percent) when on the lookout for promotions, relative to men.
  • Household income factors into many aspects of gift giving: For instance, the likelihood of respondents buying a gift for their spouse, their children, and even colleagues and acquaintances, steadily increases with income levels. The percentage of shoppers planning on shopping online also increases with income levels.
  • Gift givers are on the hunt for a good bargain: Eighty-two percent of shoppers surveyed look for some type of promotion when purchasing gifts, and roughly six in ten did some bargain hunting—like comparison shopping—last year.

How America Gives Gifts is an Internet-based survey conducted by Blackhawk Network in September 2016. The sample size included 2,341 American respondents, ages 18+.

Source: Business Wire; edited by Richard Carufel

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