What consumers want as holiday gifts—what it means

The winners and losers among categories this holiday will include gift cards, clothing, home-related goods, and media from books to video games. That’s the takeaway from an October survey of holiday shoppers—and comparisons with responses spanning more than 10 years.

Given the MacroSavvy™ forecast of a relatively weak holiday with gains skewed online (see prior post here), even the holiday winners face relatively modest payoffs—especially in store. Nevertheless, the trends point to the places where gift sellers will want to focus or avoid to maximize holiday sales.

In summary, the results from holiday questions asked every October by Prosper Insights & Analytics™ suggest the following win-lose-draw results among categories:

[bs_row class=”row”]
[bs_col class=”col-sm-4″] Win
• Gift cards
• Clothing & accessories
• Home décor & furnishings
• Personal care

[bs_col class=”col-sm-4″] Lose
• Books-CDs-DVDs-videos-video games
• Consumer Electronics

[bs_col class=”col-sm-4″] Draw
• Jewelry
• Sporting/leisure goods

  • Gift cards remain the top choice among the types of gifts that consumers—more than 60% of them—want to receive this holiday. That’s up from last year—sustaining an upward trend over more than a decade.
  • Clothing and accessories are the second most popular choice among holiday gift categories. The category remains on an upward trend as a gift choice from its recession low and is now back near its 2005 pre-recession high—when about 55% of consumers wanted to receive clothing or accessories as a gift.
  • Home décor and furnishings also are sustaining a rebound as a gift choice from recession lows and are back near pre-recession highs, when nearly a quarter of consumers wanted to receive a home-related item as a gift.
  • Books and other media are the clear losers among holiday gifts. The share of consumers that want to receive the category declined again in October to about 40%, which is down by double-digit percentage points over more than 10 years.
  • Consumer electronics and computer-related accessories are a clear loser over the long term, although the category appears to be moving sideways compared with last year as a holiday gift choice. Less than one-third of consumers would like to receive a holiday gift from the category, which is down from nearly 40% more than a decade ago.

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