Graduates Win with Aunts and Uncles


 
Graduation Season is here! The time to celebrate a lifetime of accomplishments and the beginning of a promising new stage. Parents couldn’t be prouder, Grandma is definitely going to cry, and aunts and uncles apparently get generous.

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According to one of our recent surveys, more graduation gifts are purchased for nieces and nephews than anyone else. This makes sense, especially in bigger families where people likely have have more nieces and nephews than sons or daughters. So what are they gifting?

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Graduates received mostly gift cards this year, with greeting cards and actual cash also among the popular gift-giving options. Other gifts like coffee and cars—much needed elements of adulthood—get honorable mentions. Female grads were more likely to receive flowers, while male grads were more likely to receive electronics.
 

When deciding what to gift a graduate, the number one consideration was “something that would be useful” in the next stage of their life. One curious data point also related to this decision is that uncles and aunts were more likely to ask the family and friends of the grad for gift recommendations, while mom and dad were more likely to ask the grad directly.

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Gift card purchasers are twice as likely to buy a greeting card in the same shopping trip during graduation season than during the Christmas season. The difference suggests that shoppers try to get gift and greeting cards in the same trip for graduates, while spreading the purchase of those two categories across more trips during the holiday period.

 

Another tip for all retailers out there: an overwhelming 61% of shoppers return to buy their graduation greeting cards at the same retailer where they bought their Mother’s Day card. So if you’re capturing that Mother’s Day shopper, you’re more likely to capture the graduation greeting card shopper.

 

As to which retailers people prefer for purchasing their greeting cards, the usual suspects of Walmart and Target show up on top. There is also a considerable showing from the dollar channel (Dollar Tree and Dollar General), which achieved significantly high unit sales but underperformed in dollar sales, a common trait for the channel due to its usually lower price points.

 

In summary, parents need to step up their gifting game. Spoiling uncles everywhere are going for the cash game while parents skew towards the traditionally more emotional and thoughtful greeting cards.
 
As a marketer, are you interested in knowing more about seasonal gifting in your category or other aspects of shopping behavior? Are you curious about which brands of gift cards these graduates received? Get in touch with us at contactus@infoscoutinc.com and we’ll be happy to help you out!

Black Friday: Just an Appetizer for Walmart

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It’s late November and that means three things: ironic mustaches are reaching their peak, holiday decorations are (finally) becoming seasonally appropriate and retailers are jockeying to be the preferred Black Friday destination for deal-seeking shoppers. In recent years, that has meant opening earlier and extending Black Friday doorbusters into the weekend and beyond.

 

But do stores actually benefit by extending their Black Friday deals, or are they merely spreading out the week’s sales? To answer that question, we zeroed in on two key retailers, Target and Walmart. Our team analyzed millions of receipts from the past two Black Fridays, and followed each retailer’s share-of-wallet across key categories.

 

BlackFriday2015_TargetShareOfWallet2014@2xIn 2014, Target focused its attention on the week leading up to Black Friday, with 30-60% off select items all week. The main event was on Friday, when Target offered 10% off gift cards for the first time ever (Friday Only). As a result, Target increased its share-of-wallet during the week before Black Friday and on the day itself, but lost share during the following week when their deals ended.
Walmart did not change its hours of operation in 2014, and extended its Black Friday deals throughout the following week, gaining share during that time. Despite not having any special events in the week before Black Friday, Walmart saw share gains here as well.

 

BlackFriday2015_WalmartShareOfWallet2014@2xWhile Target was able to gain share by bringing savings to the consumer first and offering discounted gift cards, it paid for it in the following week when Walmart’s promotions were just getting started. Target shoppers seemed to recognize when the deals had moved on, and many of them moved on with them. Walmart’s strategy of extending its promotion into December seems to flow more naturally into the rest of the Holiday shopping season, allowing the retailer to avoid any painful dips in sales.

 

So, does it pay to extend Black Friday deals? That all depends on whether you view the shopping holiday as dessert, or just an appetizer.

 

About the Data:
InfoScout collected data from over 2,000,000 receipts for this article, submitted by regular Target and Walmart shoppers. For this analysis, regular shoppers are defined by having visited a retailer at least once during October, November, and December of a given year. Share-of-wallet comparisons view 2014’s regular Target and Walmart shoppers’ % of total dollars spent against the previous year’s regular Target and Walmart shoppers’ % of total dollars spent.