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Christmas in July: Selling The ‘Challenged Gifter’



Published February 1, 2013
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Much attention has been placed on the role that the last minute shopper plays during the critical Christmas holiday season, but new research from Unity Marketingsuggests there’s another type of shopper to keep an eye on this winter.


This holiday selling season will challenge marketers and retailers.
As marketers and retailers begin their preparation for the Christmas shopping season, Unity Marketing researchshows that the 2012 gifter will be checking price tags and buying more practical gifts than in the past, a reflection of feelings about the US and global economies.

“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,” said Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, based in Stevens, PA, and author of The Gifting Report 2012, the newest report from the firm.

“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.”

Danziger’s 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 trendsin consumer behavior.

Although the Great Recession has been officially declared “over,” it is clear that the changes it made in the way the US consumer behaves will have far-reaching implications, Danziger said. Marketers need a road map to help them navigate the new consumer shopping landscape.

“Based on our research, we recommend marketers and retailers make Christmas 2012 an effortless one for cash-strapped, stressed-out gifters,” said Danziger. “This means beefing up your online presence to facilitate shopping from home, as well as going mobile for those customers who choose to shop by phone and providing online kiosks and notepad access to in-store shoppers.”

According to Danzinger, other strategies retailers can use to aid shoppers is to offer special Christmas personal shopping services where advisors knowledgeable about the store merchandise 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.”

According to Danzinger, books, chocolates and men’s and women’s clothing will be the most gifted items in 2012. Bath & body soaps and lotions tied for fourth on the list while fragrance/perfume was tied for eighth.

More info: www.unitymarketingonline.com


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