TRADITION RULES IN CHRISTMAS GIFTING
December 18, 2014
WARREN, NJ 18 December 2014: ‘Tis the season to be jolly, as well as the season to shop until we drop. But what is on the mind of the modern day consumer? The gift of giving? The mad rush to tick everyone off their list? We took a look.
Lightspeed GMI surveyed panelists across US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany and The Netherlands to establish what really goes through the minds of people giving gifts across the holidays.
The landscape of shopping has changed dramatically with the growth of e-commerce: Cyber Monday 2014 smashed shopping records with a 17% spend growth (Huffington Post) and overall, global 2014 online sales have increased by 20.1% to reach $1.500 trillion this year (eMarketer). In a season driven by nostalgia and tradition, will online prevail?
Online vs. In-store
Across the board, in-store purchases for Christmas gifts proved the most popular with all respondents, highest in Australia with 81% likely to shop in retail stores, followed by Canada at 80%. English males are the least likely at only 60%. Online came in as the dominant second most popular means of purchase channel, ranking highest for all UK respondents (73%) and Germany (70%). Dutch females came in with the lowest online purchase intention at only 34%.
The motivations behind these buying methods told the same story. Australia, Canada and The Netherlands cited being able to see the gift in real-life as the most important factor, reflecting their choice of in-store purchase. For UK, Germany and US respectively, immediacy of purchase was the most appealing. Although in-store offers the chance to walk away with the item, the speed of online vs traipsing around busy shops and being distracted may well link into these respondents’ preference for online activity.
All panelists reported their most common emotion as ‘loving to give to others’ and ‘seeing their joy’ when asked about their feelings towards festive gifts. The US was the peak at 86%, followed by Australia (85%), Canada (84%) and UK (83%). Splitting out by gender, women globally showed 3% higher motivation for this reason. Interestingly, homemade gifting also prevailed amongst women across all countries, notably highest in Germany (19%), US (18%) and UK (17%). This suggests a link between the application of creativity and the care in making gifts to bring personalized joy.
However, the second most chosen emotion around gifting in the festive season was that it is stressful. This was more commonly felt amongst males, the UK and Germany topping the charts at 33%. In The Netherlands, males more concern around expense (33%) and that they never get what they want (29%). In France, the notion of having to give presents as it was an expectation was also strongly believed (24%, males and females).
Gifting Gone Bad
Back to tradition, we all know the joke about opening the terrible jumper or socks – a must for any Christmas Day. More than half of respondents in Australia, Canada, UK and the US reported receiving a terrible gift in the past. Australians topped this with 62%; whereas their continental counterparts were less condemning, only 26% of Dutch, followed by French (31%) and Germans (47%).
For all who had been the recipient of a bad gift, the most common response demonstrated the need to keep peace at the dinner table, with the majority of all respondents reporting their reaction as a smiling, pretending to like it and then ensuring they are seen to be using/ wearing/ enjoying it at some point in the future. At 83%, France led the way here, followed by Australia (77%), Germany and The Netherlands (76%). Re-gifting was also an accepted reaction, particularly by UK females (30%) and Canadians females (24%).
Tablets vs. Gift Cards
The type of gifts being purchased varied dramatically across all categories and countries. Gift cards proved popular in both Australia and Canada, whilst toys featured heavily for Germany and France. Clothing topped the lists in the UK and US, and the Netherlands cited perfumes/colognes/cosmetics as their top gift category choice. The past few years saw a rising trend in the latest gadgets and technological devices and accessories; however, this was a relatively low contender in the Lightspeed GMI global study. Males had a higher ration, but still came in well under 1/3 for the highest group of makes in UK, France and Germany.
From this study, it is safe to say that whilst the world of commerce is changing rapidly, Christmas remains a time of tradition, peace and joy in the most part.
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This research was conducted in December 2014 by Lightspeed GMI in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany and The Netherlands. There were 6527 completed interviews across seven countries.
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