“The pandemic initially disrupted and delayed many gifting occasions. Consumers shifted to digital methods of shopping for and celebrating their loved ones. As the vaccine rollout continues, consumers’ optimism is increasing, and many are returning to pre-pandemic celebrations and festivities. This excitement and increased comfort with spending are creating various opportunities for brands and retailers around gifting occasions.”
– Marisa Ortega, Cross-category analyst

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and gifting
  • Types of gifts consumers are giving
  • Consumer behavior when shopping for gifts
  • Attitudes toward receiving gifts and gift registries

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • Definition
    • COVID-19: US context
    • Economic and other assumptions
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Total US retail sales in November and December, at current prices, 2011-20
      • Figure 2: Total US expected spending on other holidays, in billions, 2009-21
    • Impact of COVID-19 on gifting
      • Figure 3: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on gifting, 2021
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Focus on adding value in its various forms
    • Take an omnichannel approach
    • Maximize the use of registries
    • Keep top-of-mind the critical role of personalization
  3. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • Gifting as a sense of normalcy
    • Nontraditional occasions and gifts bring new opportunities
  4. Market Size

    • Winter holiday spending increases despite pandemic
      • Figure 4: Total US retail sales in November and December, at current prices, 2011-20
    • Celebrating and showing appreciation for loved ones drive expected spending
      • Figure 5: Total US expected spending on other holidays, in billions, 2009-21
    • Impact of COVID-19 on gifting
  5. Market Factors

    • Consumers remain cautious with their money
      • Figure 6: Consumer confidence and unemployment, 2000-21
    • The wedding season gets extended
      • Figure 7: Median age at first marriage 2010-20, by gender, 2021
    • Declining birth rates bring greater focus on new babies
      • Figure 8: Annual births and general fertility rate, 2009-19
      • Figure 9: Births, by race and Hispanic origin of mother, 2018-19
      • Figure 10: Gifts for the eco-minded mama-to-be by Mother, 2021
    • There are many types of moms and dads
      • Figure 11: Mother’s day by Chewy, 2021
    • Sustainable gifting is on the march
      • Figure 12: Mother’s Day by Rent The Runway, 2021
  6. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Brands are taking personalization to a new level
    • Go small to expand and support
    • There are no limits when it comes to gifting
  7. Competitive Strategies

    • Lead with empathy and sensitivity
      • Figure 13: Opt Out of Father’s day emails by Etsy, 2021
    • Consider strategic partnerships
      • Figure 14: Teak & Twine x Anthropologie, 2021
    • Scale personalization and inspire gifting
      • Figure 15: March birthdays by Honey, 2021
    • Get creative, everything can be a gift
      • Figure 16: Baked gifts by Inka, 2021
  8. Market Opportunities

    • Embrace an omnichannel approach for a year-round gifting strategy
    • Give back and allow consumers to do the same
    • Explore digital gifting
    • Maximize the benefits of registries
    • Focus on personalization
  9. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Consumers turn to gifting to cheer others up amid the pandemic
    • Gift seekers need guidance on where to begin; rely on resources across channels
    • The gifting journey has opportunities to improve
    • Consumers are trying to be economical
  10. Gifting Occasions

    • Consumers turned to gifting to light up each other faces
      • Figure 17: Gifting occasions, 2021
    • Millennials are celebrating their various milestones
      • Figure 18: Gift purchasing occasions, by generation, 2021
    • Tap into familiar occasions to connect with Hispanic consumers
      • Figure 19: Gift purchasing occasions, select occasions, by race and ethnicity, 2021
      • Figure 20: Gift Ideas by Bespoke Post, 2021
  11. Spending by Occasion

    • Winter holidays continue to drive spending
      • Figure 21: Average amount spent per gifting occasion, 2021
    • Men are the most splendid gift givers
      • Figure 22: Average amount spent per gifting occasion, by gender, 2021
  12. Channel Used and Retailers Shopped

    • Multichannel gift givers call for an omnichannel shopping experience
      • Figure 23: Channel usage, by generation, 2021
    • Value and variety drive shopping destinations
      • Figure 24: Retailers shopped, by channel, 2021
      • Figure 25: Chicago-based small business offers carefully curated gift sets, 2021
    • Young generations focus on affordability when gifting
      • Figure 26: Retailers shopped, by generation, 2021
      • Figure 27: Dollar Tree and TJ Maxx highlight gifting items
    • The power of supporting business owners
      • Figure 28: Retailers shopped, select retailers, by race and ethnicity, 2021
      • Figure 29: Shop to support by the little market, 2021
  13. Types of Gifts

    • Consumers shop across a variety of categories for gifts
      • Figure 30: Types of items gifted, 2021 vs 2019
    • Types of gifts vary by generation
      • Figure 31: Types of items gifted, by generation, 2021
      • Figure 32: Mom’s all-time favorite tradition by The Little Market, 2021
    • Gifts can be a reflection of the gift giver
      • Figure 33: Types of items gifted, by gender, 2021
      • Figure 34: Gifts for geeks by Uncommon Goods, 2020
    • Parents buy gifts on behalf of their children
      • Figure 35: Types of items gifted, by parental status, 2021
  14. Resources Used

    • Gift seekers need a starting point!
      • Figure 36: Resources used, 2021
      • Figure 37: TURF analysis – Resources used, 2021
      • Figure 38: MVMT uses customer reviews to highlight gifting ideas, 2021
    • Each consumer looks for gifts in their own way
      • Figure 39: Resources used, by generation, 2021
  15. Behaviors When Shopping for Gifts

    • Consumers seek value when shopping for gifts
      • Figure 40: Behaviors when shopping for a gift, 2021
    • Gifting on a budget may be more significant for younger generations
      • Figure 41: Behaviors when shopping for a gift, by generation, 2021
      • Figure 42: PresentPolluza by Honey, 2021
    • Males want to ensure they delight the recipient
      • Figure 43: Behaviors when shopping for a gift, by gender and age, 2021
    • How to make gift shopping a stress-free experience?
      • Figure 44: Behaviors when shopping for a gift, 2021
    • Gifting is a game to new heights
      • Figure 45: Behaviors when shopping for a gift, 2021
      • Figure 46: Self gifting by Etsy, 2021
  16. Receiving Gifts

    • Helping gift givers to get it right from the beginning brings benefits in the long run
      • Figure 47: Attitudes toward receiving gifts, 2021
    • Who said that pre-owned is not cool enough for a gift?
      • Figure 48: Attitudes toward receiving gifts, by gender and age, 2021
      • Figure 49: Mother’s Day gift ideas by Poshmark, 2021
  17. Gift Registries

    • Registries make gifting occasions enjoyable and easier to shop for
      • Figure 50: Attitudes toward gift registries, 2021
      • Figure 51: The wedding registry by Crate & Barrel, 2021
    • Democratize gift registries to broaden gifting opportunities
      • Figure 52: Attitudes toward gift registries, March 2021
  18. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Sales data
    • Forecast
    • Consumer survey data
    • Direct marketing creative
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
  19. Appendix – The Market

      • Figure 53: Historical per-person planned winter holiday spending, 2004-20
  20. Appendix – The Consumer

      • Figure 54: Gift purchasing occasions 2021 vs 2019
      • Figure 55: Behaviors when shopping for a gift, by generation, 2021

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


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