SOURCE: Frank About Women

November 12, 2008 08:30 ET

Is She Turning Into a Scrooge?

Women Are Checking Their Holiday Shopping Lists Twice -- Naughty or Nice, Names Will Be Cut!

WINSTON-SALEM, NC--(Marketwire - November 12, 2008) - It's all over the news that the current economic downturn will be affecting holiday spending. However, a recent holiday spending survey of 1,000 consumers conducted by the marketing-to-women experts at Frank About Women (FAW) revealed some surprising results.

Who is most likely to be trimmed from women's holiday shopping lists? The answer: themselves. According to the FAW study, 62 percent of women are asking friends and family to forgo buying them a gift this year due to the economy. In years past, items that topped women's wish lists were things that offered "me-time" and self-pampering. This year, women are focusing on what really matters -- the gift of time with family and friends.

"Not only are women planning to spend less on others, they are actively encouraging their friends and family to omit them from the gift list this year," says Nicole Green, senior strategic brand planner at FAW. "This self-sacrificing mindset represents a significant cultural shift as a renewed sense of fiscal responsibility and frugality trump spending and splurging for many women. Marketers who speak to the real meaning of the holidays are more likely to resonate with women this season and benefit from their spending power."

Who's Getting Gifts From Her and Who's Not

Of those women who usually buy gifts for their neighbors, 57 percent say they won't this year. Others likely to be crossed off the gift list include bosses (53 percent), employees and service providers, i.e., hairdressers and garbage collectors (52 percent), and co-workers (50 percent). Women may choose to replace some store-bought gifts with homemade items like cookies or the gift of their time, such as baby-sitting services.

So who will women be buying for this year? Naughty or nice, 96 percent of moms won't let tight budgets prevent them from buying their kids gifts this year. Almost as many moms will buy a gift for their parents (86 percent) and for their spouse or significant other (85 percent).

Getting Back to the Real Meaning of the Holidays

Despite the grim headlines and shrinking spending power, 73 percent of women believe people will focus more on what really matters this season -- the religious significance and spending time with family and friends. Cutting back on the number of people to buy gifts for gives consumers more time to spend with loved ones and means less time spent in long shopping lines.

Gifts That Keep Giving

Re-gifting is no longer considered the ultimate holiday faux pas; today it seems to be the savvy way to save. Thirty-three percent of women plan to re-gift this year, 67 percent say there is nothing wrong with re-gifting to save money, and 64 percent say it is better to re-gift than not give anything at all.

Saving Money Is Cool

This year women won't just be keeping track of how much they spent, but they'll also have an eye toward how much they saved. The economy has forced many women to get a grip on their spending habits, and 61 percent are grateful. According to the FAW study, 85 percent of women agree that saving money is actually cool, and 67 percent think it is fun to see how much money they can save.

"Saving money is quickly emerging as a new national pastime, and as women head into the holidays, they'll be counting every penny," says Green.

Teaching Kids Fiscal Responsibility

The economy is forcing women to get a grip on their spending habits, which they say is a good thing. Seventy-three percent of moms are using the economy as a way to introduce responsible spending to their children, and 74 percent are finding that they say "no" more often when their kids ask for things.

Hope for Marketers?

Yes, there is hope for marketers still trying to get a piece of holiday spending. The economy can't dampen the holiday spirit for most women; in fact, 57 percent of women are as excited if not more excited about the holiday this year.

According to Green, "While the crowded marketplace will be screaming 'sale, sale, sale,' there is an opportunity for brands to focus their messaging on what the female consumer finds most important this holiday and strengthen their loyalties to their favorite brands. We're seeing a dramatic shift in values take place, and this means new opportunities for marketers to connect with women."

The Holiday Spending Survey was conducted online in October 2008 and is based on a nationally representative survey of 1,000 women and men over the age of 18. The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus five percentage points.

About Frank About Women

Based in Winston-Salem, N.C., Frank About Women is the country's leading full-service marketing-to-women communications company. With more than 100 marketing-to-women strategists, creatives and communications specialists, Frank About Women creates marketing communications strategies and executions that more deeply resonate with women and provide fresh, exciting ways to connect with them in today's consumer-empowered and digitally dynamic world. Frank About Women works with Fortune 500 companies across a spectrum of industries including financial services, health care products and services, retail, food and beverage, consumer products, fashion, health and beauty, publishing, home improvement and furnishings and travel and entertainment. Frank About Women is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, one of the world's largest marketing communications firms. For more information, visit

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