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Shopping for a gift just feels different than shopping for yourself. Hunting for the perfect item for someone else can feel like a wild goose chase, but the feeling of victory that washes over you when you stumble upon something that’s a great match for that last person on your list can be better than finding anything for yourself. Because of the satisfaction gifting can bring, holidays and other gifting occasions can be a useful way to empower consumers to buy more.
A recent study from the Journal of Marketing found that shopping for gifts creates stronger brand loyalty and increased returns, particularly when the brand provides assistance like gift suggestions and special packaging. People spent 63% more the year after buying a gift than people who bought items simply for their own use.
While it might be tempting to assume most people buy their gifts during big holiday months like November and December, market researcher and Forbes contributor Pamela Danzinger notes that retailers should not put all their eggs in one basket, but rather anticipate that consumers could be buying gifts at any time.
“The gift market represents an enormous opportunity for retailers not just at holiday time, but throughout the rest of the year,” she writes. “What makes the gift market so powerful is that it is a unique marketing opportunity to touch two target consumers at once — the gift buyer who makes the purchase and the gift recipient who receives the gift.”
Sometimes, the very act of shopping for a gift can motivate a consumer to make a larger purchase than they initially planned on: the National Retail Federation found that 70% of people shopping for gifts simultaneously ended up buying something for themselves as well.
Both Danzigner and the Journal study also suggest that retailers be mindful about how they present gifts—think signature gift boxes, gift wrap services, and unique branding touches that remind both the giver and the receiver where a memorable gift came from. Digital gifting services like SmartGift, which facilitates the gifting process and allows the recipient to customize their gift online before confirming it, can also be handy.
One population that might be particularly useful to take note of is millennials. A Business Insider Intelligence report found that millennials are the most active online shoppers, and they’re most open to new or unique forms of gifting, like sending a SmartGift. But no matter their demographic or product offering, retailers should keep in mind that any season can be a season for gifting, and gifting is an opportunity for growth.