Holiday Gift Shoppers Approach the Home Stretch

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It seems like an eternity since holiday displays began to pop up in stores in September, and now we’re finally approaching the last shopping days of the holiday gift shopping season. But how much shopping do people have left? Who’s taking gift shopping down to the wire? Where have people shopped, and where do they plan to shop? Have they made lists and checked them twice? Based on receipt data captured by InfoScout’s proprietary mobile apps, we asked approximately 500 holiday shoppers these and other questions during a survey conducted in early December.

How Much Holiday Gift Shopping Is Left?

When asked how far along they are with their shopping, 40% said more than half of their holiday gift shopping was done. 36% had finished about half or less than half of their shopping, while 7% hadn’t even started at the time of the survey.

68% of shoppers who still have work to do plan to purchase their remaining gifts the week before Christmas. A handful admitted that they won’t be finished by Christmas. 18% of survey respondents had already moved on to the wrapping phase because their holiday shopping was completely done. Nearly half wrapped up their shopping (no pun intended) this month, as 31% finished during the first week of December and 15% made their last holiday gift purchase within 24 hours of our survey.

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Although Black Friday still represents the kickoff to the holiday shopping season in the minds of many households, 32% of survey respondents started their shopping before Black Friday, attracted by the expanding retail early-deal landscape.

Which Retailers Are Winning, and Which Stand to Benefit from Last-minute Shopping?

More holiday gift shopping is taking place online as 79% of surveyed shoppers have done at least half of their shopping online. Just 48% have done at least half of their shopping in-store.

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Drilling down a bit deeper into those numbers, 45% of shoppers have made holiday gift purchases from online-only retailers like Amazon. 36% have purchased gifts in a brick-and-mortar Walmart store, followed by the websites of brick-and-mortar retailers such as Walmart.com, Target.com and BestBuy.com (29%). Target’s physical stores finished a close fourth at 28%.

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Interestingly, online channels could lose their advantage during the final holiday shopping weeks as those who still have shopping to do plan to split their time almost evenly between online and brick-and-mortar stores. 36% say they’ll do more or most of their remaining shopping in-store compared to 34% who are more likely to shop online.

Online-only retailers such as Amazon will still be the top destination (40%), with Target and Walmart running neck and neck at 27% each. The websites of brick-and-mortar retailers (24%) drop to fourth for last-minute shoppers.

As for Those Lists…

In this age of mobile devices and apps, 44% of shoppers use a written list for the majority of their holiday purchases. In fact, 31% rely on a mental list to guide their gift shopping, compared to 19% who make a digital list and 6% who use a retailer’s wish list.

About the Data

The data in this article was sourced from a survey completed by 500 omnichannel shoppers from InfoScout’s consumer purchase panel.

Throughout the 2016 holiday shopping season, InfoScout’s team of researchers will be analyzing real-time data from millions of omnichannel shopping trips. This data is mapped to shopper profile data, instantly triggered surveys and more to provide the richest set of shopper insights available.

Click and Collect Picks Up Steam with Holiday Gift Shoppers

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Click and Collect is gaining traction as more shoppers make purchases online and pick up merchandise in a physical store. People like the convenience of shopping online and having their order ready within an hour in most cases without paying shipping fees.

Long story short, Click and Collect enables the end consumer to get the product they want, when they want, where they want, how they want, and at the price they want.

InfoScout has been tracking the use of Click and Collect, particularly during the 2016 holiday gift shopping season. We surveyed 600 Click and Collect shoppers to see if there has been a shift in adoption, identify the top Click and Collect retailers for holiday gift shopping, and find out how shoppers rate their experiences with Click and Collect.

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Among those shoppers who have used Click and Collect, 38% have already used the service for purchasing and picking up holiday gifts this year. 15% used Click and Collect for the first time during the 2016 holiday shopping season. 51% used the service for the first time within the past 12 months, showing an uptick in adoption.

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There is a clear “Big Three” for top Click and Collect retailers during the 2016 holiday gift shopping season – Walmart (58%), Target (39%) and Kohl’s (26%). JC Penney (12%), Sears (9%) and Kmart (8%) round out the next tier of Click and Collect retailers.

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Perhaps the most encouraging sign for future adoption of Click and Collect is the positive feedback. 99% of shoppers rated their overall experience with Click and Collect during the 2016 holiday gift shopping season as “as expected” or “better than expected.”

92% of shoppers who have already used Click and Collect to purchase holiday gifts in 2016 said they are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to use this service to purchase additional gifts before the holiday season is done. Looking ahead to 2017, 95% of shoppers are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to use Click and Collect again when they shop for holiday gifts next year.  These additional Click and Collect purchases pose a significant challenge to retailers in that they have to find creative ways to encourage shoppers to buy impulse and add-on items that typically end up in the cart from general in-store shopping (ex. batteries for the toy helicopter, case for the new tablet, etc.).

There are two important points to consider about this data. First, InfoScout focused exclusively on Click and Collect for the purpose of holiday gift shopping. Our survey doesn’t account for other use cases and time periods in which adoption could be increasing.

Second, the holiday shopping season is far from over, as most shoppers plan to wrap up their shopping during the second week of December. If the intention of shoppers to use Click and Collect again holds true to form, the service could end up having an even greater impact on the 2016 holiday gift shopping season.

About the Data

These insights were powered by InfoScout’s ability to trigger real-time surveys based on observed shopping behavior. The data in this article was sourced from a survey completed by 600 shoppers who have used a Click and Collect service at least once in the past 24 months.

Throughout the 2016 holiday shopping season, InfoScout’s team of researchers will be analyzing real-time data from millions of omnichannel shopping trips. This data is mapped to shopper profile data, instantly triggered surveys and more to provide the richest set of shopper insights available.

For more information, please contact press@infoscoutinc.com.

The Amazon Effect: Why Prime Members Stayed Home on Black Friday

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It’s no secret that online shopping is growing in popularity. It’s also no secret that Amazon is driving and even accelerating that shift from in-store to online. Amazon Prime memberships have increased 23% to nearly 50 million just since last year, according to estimates from Cowen & Co.

With Black Friday 2016 in the books, InfoScout wanted to find out why Amazon Prime members shopped online instead of in-store. We also wanted to gain a clearer understanding of Prime members’ holiday gift shopping habits before and after Black Friday.

We conducted a survey of more than 2,000 Amazon Prime members and found that fewer members were shopping in-store on Black Friday – 59% of respondents this year vs. 65% in 2015. 

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Why did shoppers stay home this year? “Crowds, stampedes, and bad attitudes,” replied one shopper. “Lines and grouchy people” said another. Interestingly, “prices” and “deals” were mentioned far less frequently.

In other words, Prime members who stayed home on Black Friday weren’t bargain hunters. Most were just trying to avoid the long lines and hordes of frantic shoppers.

Will that feeling continue throughout the holiday season? When we asked where their remaining holiday gift shopping will occur, 85% of surveyed Prime members said they will do at least half of their shopping online. Just 15% plan to do most of their shopping in-store.

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However, the fact that Amazon Prime members avoided leaving the house on Black Friday doesn’t mean they’re procrastinating their Christmas shopping. Nearly 25% expect to wrap up their online holiday shopping by the end of November, compared to 20% for in-store purchases.

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Though it may seem contradictory, the popularity of Black Friday appears to be driving shoppers to stay home and shop online. As more holiday gift shopping inevitably shifts online, brick-and-mortar retailers would be wise to start linking in-store purchases with extra discounts for their shoppers to also visit them online (e.g., “Spend $100 in-store and get $10 to spend online). Attracting and retaining these shoppers will be key to competing with their online-only competition.

About the Data

The data in this article was sourced from a survey completed by more than 2,000 Amazon Prime members from InfoScout’s consumer purchase panel.

Throughout the 2016 holiday shopping season, InfoScout’s team of researchers will be analyzing real-time data from millions of omnichannel shopping trips. This data is mapped to shopper profile data, instantly triggered surveys and more to provide the richest set of shopper insights available.

For more information, please contact press@infoscoutinc.com.

 

Why Did Some Shoppers Bail on Black Friday?

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Recent data shows that Black Friday, as a one-day shopping event, is gradually losing impact. Early holiday gift shopping trends for 2016 indicate that more shoppers are taking advantage of Black Friday deals that start early in November and extend into December rather than focusing on a single day. Also, Super Saturday is poised to surpass Black Friday as the busiest shopping day of the holiday season as more consumers, especially millennials, shop later in the season.

InfoScout had a simple question for “defectors” – those who shopped on Black Friday in 2015 but decided to pass on Black Friday this year: Why?

The answers may surprise you.

The natural assumption is that people just don’t want to deal with the madness that has become synonymous with Black Friday. Huge crowds, long lines, and fighting for parking spaces don’t exactly fill people with joy during the most wonderful time of the year.

In fact, this was the top reason why people who shopped on Black Friday in 2014 decided to skip Black Friday last year, as 44% of respondents to last year’s survey said the craziness wasn’t worth it. However, that number dropped to 25% in our 2016 survey.

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This year, more people just couldn’t afford to shop yet, as 26% of survey respondents felt they weren’t financially ready to shop on Black Friday. 39% of defectors plan to shop during the first two weeks of December instead.

The number of defectors who were more likely to have previously shopped for themselves was cut in half (20% in previous years vs. 10% this year), indicating that the financial crunch felt by many shoppers is limiting “treat” purchases.

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We also looked at where defectors shopped last year so we could find out which retailers are losing Black Friday dollars in 2016. InfoScout data shows that Walmart (22.9%) and Target (14.6%) had the largest shares of 2015 Black Friday spend by far and stand to be the biggest losers.

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So why did defectors choose not to shop on Black Friday this year? They didn’t want to brave the crowds, they didn’t feel financially comfortable to spend on gifts yet, and they know that they have the option to purchase gifts well into December, as retailers spread out the holiday shopping season over a longer period of time every year. 

About the Data

These insights were powered by InfoScout’s ability to trigger real-time surveys based on observed shopping behavior. The data in this article was sourced from a survey completed by 388 consumers who shopped on Black Friday in 2015 and did not shop on Black Friday in 2016 (November 25, 2016).

Throughout the 2016 holiday shopping season, InfoScout’s team of researchers will be analyzing real-time data from millions of omnichannel shopping trips. This data is mapped to shopper profile data, instantly triggered surveys and more to provide the richest set of shopper insights available.

For more information, please contact press@infoscoutinc.com.

Black Friday’s Top Sellers by Retailer: Did Sony’s PlayStation get boxed out by Microsoft?

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InfoScout’s early read on this year’s top items turned up some usual suspects, along with a few surprises. While Sony’s PlayStation 4 held onto its #1 spot at Best Buy again this year, Microsoft’s Xbox One S Minecraft bundle took the lead at both Target and Costco. Walmart and Sam’s Club shoppers took advantage of whopping 40% discounts off Philips and Vizio Smart TVs to aggrandize their living rooms. But most surprising? Pork Loin ranked first in unit movement at Costco, where shoppers lined up with $8 off instant coupons.

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About the Data
More than 300,000 Americans snap pictures of their everyday shopping receipts via InfoScout’s mobile apps. The first 40,000 receipts reported on Thanksgiving night and Black Friday were analyzed to provide a quick read on this year’s hottest items based on unit sales and dollar sales for each major retailer.

Throughout the 2016 holiday shopping season, InfoScout’s team of researchers will be analyzing real-time data from millions of omnichannel shopping trips. This data is mapped to shopper profile data, instantly triggered surveys and more to provide the richest set of shopper insights available.

For more information, please contact press@infoscoutinc.com.

Early Read on Black Friday at Walmart: Which brands made the Top 10 list?

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What do food storage, socks, Legos, and virtual reality headsets have in common? We’re guessing the only thing is appearing on Walmart’s list of top sellers for Black Friday 2016! An early read of 26,000 Walmart receipts from Thanksgiving night through mid-day Black Friday indicates some well-rounded shopping trips that covered everything from household staples to electronics to toys.

About the Data

More than 300,000 Americans snap pictures of their everyday shopping receipts via InfoScout’s mobile apps. The first 26,000 receipts reported from trips to Walmart on Thanksgiving night and Black Friday were analyzed to provide a quick read on this year’s hottest items based on unit sales.

Throughout the 2016 holiday shopping season, InfoScout’s team of researchers will be analyzing real-time data from millions of omnichannel shopping trips. This data is mapped to shopper profile data, instantly triggered surveys and more to provide the richest set of shopper insights available.

For more information, please contact press@infoscoutinc.com

 

 

An Early Look at 2016 Holiday Gift Shopping Trends

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We all know people who start holiday gift shopping as soon as the kids go back to school. We all know people who make a mad dash to the mall on Christmas Eve. We all know people who wait on line in front of discount stores to take advantage of doorbuster deals on Black Friday. And we all know people buy everything online with their fuzzy slippers on and never leave the house.

But when do most people start their gift shopping? How much do Black Friday and other sales events impact shopping plans?

InfoScout conducted a survey of approximately 2,100 consumers over the weekend to answer these questions and see what factors are influencing shopping behavior.

How Much Holiday Gift Shopping Has Already Been Done?

More than seven in 10 consumers (72%) have started their holiday gift shopping. However, a larger percentage of shoppers have yet to start shopping compared to last year (28% vs. 21%). Also, shoppers were further along at this point in 2015 than they are this year.

The fact that people haven’t started shopping as early as they did last year could be due to the continued growth of Amazon and its fast, inexpensive shipping options for Prime members. In fact, a new study from Cowen & Co. reported in Barron’s estimates that Prime memberships have increased 23% to nearly 50 million since last year. People are more confident that gifts will arrive on time, and they don’t have to pay a fortune for fast shipping.

Also, the fast emergence of the Click and Collect option (buy online and pick up merchandise in the store) could be making it easier for shoppers to procrastinate. Click and Collect eliminates two major frustrations from the holiday shopping equation – long lines and shipping fees. As a result, 95% of those who used Click and Collect last year plan to do so again this year.

Is Black Friday Losing its Mojo?

Trends are pointing in that direction, especially if you consider that Black Friday is now part of a month-long (or more) sales push rather than a one-day event.

However, more people are taking advantage of pre-Black Friday sales, and fewer people are planning to shop Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. 36% of respondents are shopping pre-Black Friday sales this year, up from 31% last year, while 32% plan to shop on Saturday and Sunday, down from 37% last year. This would indicate that people know they can get most of the same deals before and after Thanksgiving weekend.

The continued dilution of Black Friday helps to explain why Super Saturday, the last Saturday before the Christmas weekend, continues to grow in terms of shopping trips and sales.

Online, In-store, or Both?

Overall, more shopping continues to move online. 42% of survey respondents plan to do most or all of their holiday gift shopping online in 2016, compared to 38% last year. 16% plan to do most or all of their holiday shopping in a physical store compared to 20% last year.

As for Black Friday in particular, more people plan to shop online (28%) than last year (25%), while fewer people plan to shop in stores (37%) than last year (41%). The gap was much wider for Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, as 27% plan to shop online compared to 19% in 2015, and 28% plan to shop in stores compared to 36% last year.

Using our proprietary apps that capture physical and digital receipt images of customer purchase data, InfoScout will be analyzing shopping behavior in near real-time this weekend, from Black Friday to Amazon to Click and Collect. Check back often as we publish these valuable insights!

2016 Holiday Shopping Trends & Predictions, Part 2

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In the run-up to Black Friday, InfoScout’s team of researchers has been examining holiday shopping trends and has developed a number of predictions. Part 1 of our two-part blog series ran yesterday; today we share Part 2.

Our predictions for the 2016 holiday season include:

Any growth in year-over-year holiday sales will be won by Amazon – for all other retailers, the shopping season will be a zero-sum game.

Last year, the No. 1 “first stop” for Black Friday shoppers was Walmart — but running a close second was Amazon, as shoppers preferred to enjoy the leisure of shopping from home, rather than brave the crowds. InfoScout expects that trend to accelerate in 2016.

“Amazon’s share of holiday sales will grow by double digits again this year,” Schrieber said. “In fact, we expect Amazon to account for virtually all growth in retail sales, while others fight over their share of the rest of the pie.”

Voice products like Amazon Echo will have a breakthrough holiday season.

InfoScout predicts 2016 will be the Year of Voice for holiday shoppers, as products like Amazon Echo, Google Home and others in the “smart speaker” category gain awareness and rapid adoption.

“Last year was a huge win for the Amazon Fire, which dethroned the iPad as the top-selling tablet on Amazon during the holiday season. This year promises to be even bigger for the Amazon Echo; we predict it will be among the season’s hottest products,” Schrieber said.

Use of “click and collect” among shoppers will more than double.

“Click and collect” services enable people to shop online and then pick up the items at the store, giving shoppers the ability to avoid long checkout lines and shipping fees. InfoScout expects usage of “click and collect” to spike dramatically this year.

“An InfoScout survey earlier this year showed that only 34.6 percent of shoppers had used ‘click and collect’ — but of those shoppers who used it during the 2015 holiday season, a full 95 percent plan to use it again in 2016. That suggests rapid adoption is on the way,” Schrieber said.

It will be another difficult holiday season for mobile payments.

Apple Pay had a disappointing season in 2015, being used in only 2.7 percent of eligible transactions. That was down from 4.9 percent in 2014. InfoScout predicts 2016 will be even tougher for Apple Pay — especially now that top retailers including Walmart and Kohl’s have introduced their own mobile payment options.

“The challenge for mobile payment options is that shoppers don’t find them any easier or more convenient to use than credit or debit cards. Until that changes, adoption will fail to cross the chasm,” Schrieber said.

Throughout the 2016 holiday shopping season, InfoScout’s team of researchers will be analyzing real-time data from millions of omnichannel shopping trips. This data is mapped to shopper profile data, instantly triggered surveys and more to provide the richest set of shopper insights available.

Business and consumer news media interested in specific holiday shopping data and trends may send inquiries to infoscout@ideagrove.com.

2016 Holiday Shopping Trends & Predictions, Part 1

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In the run-up to Black Friday, InfoScout’s team of researchers has been examining holiday shopping trends and has developed a number of predictions for the 2016 season. Here are some things to look out for in the weeks ahead:

Super Saturday is on track to overtake Black Friday as the No. 1 shopping day of the season.

Despite retailers’ best efforts to pull holiday shopping ahead of Black Friday, consumer procrastination is actually pulling trips later into December. Super Saturday (Dec. 17) —the last Saturday before the Christmas weekend — looks to continue its recent trend of stealing share of trips from Black Friday. In 2015, Super Saturday saw 12% more trips than the prior year, while Black Friday trips remained flat.

“Black Friday has become an increasingly artificial phenomenon, driven as much by retailer promotion as by its date on the calendar,” said Jared Schrieber, InfoScout’s co-founder and CEO. “Super Saturday, by contrast, offers a more practical reason for primacy in shopping trips — it’s the last weekend to shop before the holiday.”

Being a consumer’s “first stop” is more important than ever.

A smaller concentration of sales on Black Friday means shoppers will tend to complete their trips earlier — which makes the importance of being a shopper’s first stop greater than ever. Last year, for example, InfoScout data showed that shoppers who made Walmart their first stop on Black Friday spent nearly twice as much there as those who made it their second stop. Virtually every retailer achieves a substantial “first stop” benefit (on average, an 18 percent basket size increase).

“Last year, 74 percent of Black Friday shoppers went to more than one store, and many of those went to a third and fourth,” said Schrieber. “On the other end of the spectrum, 38 percent of shoppers who went to Walmart first did not go to any other store on Black Friday. We expect the trend toward visiting fewer stores to accelerate — which makes attracting customers to your store first critically important.”

For TV buyers, it’s all about price and size in 2016, not 4K resolution or other fancy features.

InfoScout’s recent survey of 840 recent TV buyers showed that just one in five TV buyers — 21 percent — purchase the brand they intended to purchase when they walk into the store. The rest either don’t have a specific brand in mind, or change their mind after they enter the store. What’s more, product features, such as 4K resolution or Smart TV functionality, are not the differentiators brands would like them to be. Only 26 percent of TV shoppers chose a specific brand because of product features.

“When we are expecting 55-inch 4K TVs to be sold for as low as $315 on Black Friday, are consumers really buying these TVs because they have 4K resolution? Our data suggests they will be buying them because they fit their wall and their wallet,” says Bob Goodwin, InfoScout’s practice leader for consumer technology.

Look for “2016 Holiday Shopping Trends & Predictions, Part 2” on our blog tomorrow.

Throughout the 2016 holiday shopping season, InfoScout’s team of researchers will be analyzing real-time data from millions of omnichannel shopping trips. This data is mapped to shopper profile data, instantly triggered surveys and more to provide the richest set of shopper insights available.

Business and consumer news media interested in specific holiday shopping data and trends may send inquiries to infoscout@ideagrove.com.

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!