SOURCE: Unity Marketing

June 14, 2012 08:00 ET

This Christmas Gift Shoppers Will Take a Practical Turn

New Unity Marketing Research Shows Gifters Turning to Useful Gifts, Practicing Less Over-the-Top Gifting, With Important Implications for Marketers This Christmas

STEVENS, PA--(Marketwire - Jun 14, 2012) - Marketers and retailers are beginning their preparation for the critically-important Christmas shopping season 2012, and this year, good planning is more important than ever. New research by Unity Marketing shows that the 2012 gifter will be checking price tags and buying more practical gifts than in the past, a reflection of feelings about the U.S. and global economy. (

"In previous years, the gifting market has been dominated by a personality we call the Last Minute Gifter, a person who rushes to the stores the week or night before a holiday like Christmas, spending with great abandon in an effort to meet their gifting obligations," says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of The Gifting Report 2012, the newest report from Unity Marketing. This new report is based on a recent survey of nearly 2,000 gifters with data compared with survey results from prior years to show changes and trends in consumer behavior. (

"Now, however, the most prevalent gifting personality is the Challenged Gifter. Our research finds that gifting consumers today are more likely to buy useful and practical gifts, a preference that is driving demand for gift cards. They also indicate a greater tendency to check the price tag before making a gift selection. It is no wonder that we are seeing a surge in Challenged Gifters, the gifters who find the entire gifting process -- from going to the store to selecting a gift to wrapping it and giving it -- to be more of an ordeal than a joy."

The Gifting Report 2012 gives actionable strategies to help marketers prepare for Christmas 2012

Although the Great Recession has been officially declared "over," it is clear that the changes it made in the way the U.S. consumer behaves will have far-reaching implications. Marketers need a road map to help them navigate the new consumer shopping landscape; Unity's Gifting Report provides just that for the Christmas 2012 season and beyond. (

"Based on our research, we recommend marketers and retailers make Christmas 2012 an effortless one for cash-strapped, stressed-out gifters," says Danziger. "This means beefing up your online presence to facilitate shopping from home as well as going mobile for those who choose to shop by phone and online kiosks or notepad access for in-store shoppers. Other strategies retailers can use to aid shoppers is to offer personal shopping services where advisors knowledgeable about the store merchandise selection work with harried shoppers to find that special gift. Retailers must make returns painless as a means to build relationships with new shoppers frequenting the store to make returns. And of course, retailers should make every effort to take care of small tasks like gift wrapping and shipping. The more barriers to purchase you can remove, the more likely today's gifter is to buy."

To learn more about the behavior of the gifting consumer, start with the Gifting Report 2012. The report is filled with research-based findings that describe consumer gifting behavior, including where gifters shop, when, for whom, and what they buy. The Gifting Report 2012 is filled with recent data, historic comparisons, and actionable strategies to help marketers navigate the new world of gifting.

Take Action -- Get the List of the Top 10 Gift Choices in 2012

The first step to understanding consumers' gifting behavior is learning more about their gift choices. To get a list of the top 10 gift choices among gifting consumers in 2012, click this link This indispensable resource will help retailers, manufacturers, and marketers prepare for the remainder of 2012, and it is free to those who ask.

Learn More about The Gifting Report 2012

Building upon previous research conducted on the gifting market, The Gifting Report 2012 presents an expanded view of consumers' gift buying and giving behavior based upon a survey of 1,939 gift buyers conducted in January 2012. By comparing the current results with those from a similar survey conducted in January 2010 provide tracking of key trends in the gifting market. Intended for marketers and retailers that tap the gift market, this report presents:

  • Gifting behavior by holiday and occasion: Key characteristics of the gifting market, such as on what holidays and occasions consumers buy gifts, how many people they buy gifts for and their relationship with the gift recipient, such as spouse, child, close family member, etc. and how much they spend. This report also reveals what range of products people choose for gifts, what drives their selection of particular gifts and what drives their selection of stores to shop for gifts.
  • Demographics of the gifting market: How many households buy gifts, how much they spend by key demographics, and the key different demographic segments within the gifts market (e.g. HHI, age, size, composition, education, etc.)
  • Gift consumers buying behavior: What are the primary characteristics of the consumers' buying behavior related to different gifts? What makes a good gift? What attributes and qualities make gifters want to buy? Where do they shop for these items; how do they decide to purchase one item over another? What is the role of brand in gifting buying behavior? What is the purchase incidence and spending on key categories of gifts?
  • Psychographic profile and segmentation of the gifting market: The psychographic profile of gift consumers reveals their different drives and motivations in purchasing gifts. What factors are more or less important in driving gift purchasing decisions? How can gifts marketers and retailers better understand the hearts and minds of their consumers and use that insight to capture a greater share of the consumers' gifting budget? In essence we reveal "why people buy gifts."

This report includes brand new gift data including:

  • Deep dive into Christmas gift and Birthday gift buying behavior: Detail data is collected about gifts bought for Christmas and birthday gift giving -- the top gifting holiday and occasion -- plus where people shopped for each of those gifts. This data allows marketers to determine whether people's shopping behavior is different for these two most important gift shopping experiences and the other gift holidays and occasions throughout the year.
  • Most popular gift choices: Data is collected about 10 different gift categories, such as personal care items, giftables, consumables, electronics and more and nearly 100 individual product and experience categories, such as candles, DVDs, women's fine jewelry, kitchenware and more. Further each of the ten categories is ranked as to whether it is one's favorite 'go to' gift category, good for most people and most occasions; appropriate for some people and some occasions only; or something consumers rarely or ever gift as a gift.
  • Favorite stores for gift shopping: Nearly 40 different types of stores and other shopping venues are tracked in this report, broken into three major categories of shopping venues: General merchandise stores; non-store retailers, internet, catalogs, TV shopping, etc.; and specialty retailers, including book stores, food stores, drug stores, electronics store and many others. And each of the 38 stores included in this report are ranked by respondents as either their 'go to' destination for gift purchases; appropriate only for occasions and some people; and stores where one rarely shops for gifts.
  • Internet as a source for gift shopping: For those respondents who had used the internet to buy gifts in the past year, an additional series of questions were included to gather more details about how they used the internet and their satisfaction in using the internet for gift shopping. A list of websites were rated as a source for gifts as well.

Click this link to learn more about the report, the survey sample and methodology and the table of contents.

About Pam Danziger and Unity Marketing

Pamela N. Danziger is an internationally recognized expert specializing in consumer insights for marketers targeting the affluent consumer. She is president of Unity Marketing, a marketing consulting firm she founded in 1992. Pam received the Global Luxury Award for top luxury industry achievers presented at the Global Luxury Forum in 2007 by Harper's Bazaar.

Pam gives luxury marketers "All Access" to the mind of the luxury consumer. She uses qualitative and quantitative market research to learn about their brand preferences, shopping habits, and attitudes about their luxury lifestyles, then turns these insights into actionable strategies for marketers to use to reach these high spending consumers. Unity Marketing is the voice of the luxury consumer for such clients as PPR, Diageo, Tempur-Pedic, Google, Swarovski, Constellation Wines, Luxottica, Orient-Express Hotels, Italian Trade Commission, Marie Claire magazine, The World Gold Council, and The Conference Board.

Pam's latest book, Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury, is available now from Paramount Market Publishing ( Her other books include Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience, published by Kaplan Publishing in October 2006; Let Them Eat Cake: Marketing Luxury to the Masses -- as well as the Classes, (Dearborn Trade Publishing, $27, hardcover) and Why People Buy Things They Don't Need: Understanding and Predicting Consumer Behavior (Chicago: Dearborn Trade Publishing, 2004).

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Pam Danziger