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Strong 2006 Holiday Shopping Season Shaping Up
Sep 29, 2006
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Gift givers in the U.S. spent an average U.S. $1,034 on gifts for holidays and occasions through July 2006, nearly 20 percent more than they spent in the same period last year. If this gift-buying trend continues, total gift spending could top $2,250 this year, for a 12-percent rise over average spending in 2005. These results come from Unity Marketing's Gift Tracker quarterly purchasing study of gift givers.

Expected to be big during this years gift-giving season: gift certificates, feel-good foods and "little luxury" items.

In addition, "Home Electronics have been a strong gifting category," Unity Marketing President Pam Danziger told APPLIANCE magazine today. "Now that prices for many items are so affordable, this should be another good year for those."

Danziger said that this year more gifters got an early start on Christmas shopping, with about 25 percent of them already spending an average $169 buying Christmas gifts, which compares to only 20 percent who made early Christmas gift purchases last year.

Projecting through the rest of 2006, Unity expects the average spending on Christmas gifts to exceed $1,000.

The Earlier They Shop, the More they Buy

"Early Christmas shopping may well lead to more gift purchases and spending," says Danziger. "People are thinking about gift choices earlier in the season and the more they shop, the more they will ultimately buy, despite their intentions to keep spending down."

She said that 40 percent of gifters exceeding their holiday gift budget in 2005, and Unity expects the same to be true this year.

What Kind of Gifts Are They Buying?

Based on gift purchasing patterns tracked this year, Unity said shoppers will make new gift selections this season:

  • Gift certificates will be especially strong. Savvy retailers will place add-on gifts close at-hand for impulse gift ideas. "Gift cards can be kind of tacky," Danziger said, "but when combined with a 'real' gift - like Barnes & Noble's gift card that comes bundled with a Godiva chocolate four-pack - it makes a much better presentation."
  • Gifts that deliver a tasting experience. More gifters will choose food, wine, spirits, chocolate, and other 'feel-good' tasting experiences.
  • Little luxuries will be popular. Unity said gifts that pack in the maximum amount of luxurious indulgence at a reasonable price will sell well.

    Unity estimates that about 10 percent of the $2.6 trillion U.S. retail market is spent to buy gifts.

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