NPD Group: Shoppers opting for experiential gifts this year

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NPD Group: Shoppers opting for experiential gifts this year

By Marianne Wilson - 12/04/2017
It's all about the experience.

Many holiday shoppers plan to purchase "intangible" gifts this year. According to NPD’s 2017 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey, purchase intent is down across many general merchandise categories, but consumers place a high value on experiences. Thirty-nine percent of U.S. consumers plan to purchase experiential gifts this holiday season, like wine tastings, concert tickets, and spa treatments. Of those consumers, the majority (48%) plan to purchase some sort of food/beverage experience.

“Giving an intangible gift, an experience, can be more personal and more memorable for the gift-recipient, and in many ways easier for the gift-giver, making them an ideal holiday gift solution for many consumers," said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analysts, The NPD Group.

In addition to experiential gifts, subscription services are also on the radars of some consumers this year – 7% of shoppers plan to purchase a subscription box or service as a gift this holiday season. Similar to the top experiences, food subscriptions top the list among consumers with an eye on these types of gifts, followed by beverages, electronics, health/fitness, fashion, and beauty/grooming subscriptions.

The purchase intent for experiential gifts and subscription services this holiday season is strongest among Gen Z and Millennial holiday shoppers, as well as households with children, and annual incomes over $75,000. Similarly, gift cards, more common ‘intangible’ holiday gifts, are popular among higher income households and those with children, but Gen Z is the least likely to purchase them.

Despite Gen Z’s lack of interest, anticipated gift card purchasing shows a small uptick for holiday 2017, with 45% of consumers planning to purchase them.

“Gen Z and Millennials think to give experiential gifts because that is what they seek – people like to give what they want themselves,” added Cohen.  “Whether shoppers are looking for more unique gifts in general, or reacting to current retail offerings, the popularity of intangible gifts poses a very real threat to traditional retail.”

 

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