Gifting has become such a huge opportunity for retailers, as it expands shopping for others from the Black Friday to Boxing Day timeline to a year-round event. We are always finding reasons to shop for one another. We have the regular gift holidays including Valentine's Day, Easter, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and obviously birthdays. Aside from those, we give gifts on all those different special occasions in someone’s life: new babies, new jobs, new apartments, engagements, weddings, and the list goes on and on. Let’s not forget corporate gifting, where companies give clients, employees, and potential clients all kinds of presents to help maintain professional relationships. It seems that we and/or our personal assistants are constantly shopping for others.
Spending on Gifting
As the gifter, there are two ways to look at all this shopping. It’s either a great way to express how much you value someone, or as a social obligation that you may or may not be on board with. But what if we take the social component out of the equation, and look solely at the money? How has the gifting industry actually changed over the years due to the increasing spending habits of the general population? Forbes has found that since 1992, the fourth quarter in the fiscal year has become less and less significant for retailers. This used to be the quarter where a retailer wasn’t doing great, and was in the “red,” they would really have the chance to pull themselves into the “black.” Which is apparently where the term “Black Friday” comes from. As the years have gone by, there still is an increase in sales during this fourth quarter, but it is no longer the make-or-break time for retailers. Research done by Unity Marketing has actually shown that people tend to spend less than half of their gifting budget between Black Friday and Christmas, meaning that the majority of their money is actually being spent on all the other types of presents year round.
Marketing and Gifting
What makes the gifting industry so unique is how their marketing has to be done. Your target audience is not just one type of customer, it’s actually two. For instance, if a sister is shopping a gift for her brother the product has to be marketed both to her and to the brother. She has to be convinced enough to purchase the gift, and he has to react positively to the item that he builds loyalty to the retailer and perhaps buys something from them too. There are also additional services that retailers can offer because of the prevalence of gifting, such as gift wrapping or customization, which includes monogramming or creating custom patterns. Even the most generic items, with the recipients initials embossed into the side of the item makes it seem like more thought actually went into the gift. These little touches, although cost extra improve presentation and can make gifts seem more valuable.
Presentation also becomes a huge part of the industry for retailers, because of the role social media plays in our lives. One cute present in a beautiful package makes for one Instagram post or story captioned with a thank you, and a little shout-out to both the gift giver and the retailer. The packaging and wrapping basically lead to relatively low-cost or even free marketing for a retailer, because the person is posting of their own volition and for no compensation. The gifting industry is one that is ever changing, and is shaped by calendars, technology, and our social responsibility towards one another. As those continue to change, we will watch as the gifting industry shifts too.