Dining out, event tickets, and spa certificates top
the list of planned ‘intangible’ gifts
Port Washington, NY, December 4, 2017 — Rather than filling stockings or wrapping packages, many holiday shoppers plan to purchase less tangible gifts this year, reports The NPD Group, a leading global information company. 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 – in their homes, when shopping, and as gifts. Thirty-nine percent of U.S. consumers plan to purchase experiential gifts this holiday season, like wine tastings, concert tickets, and spa treatments.
“When store displays show off the same old sweaters, or the hot kitchen appliance is sold out in stores, consumers are faced with a gifting dilemma,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. “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.”
In addition to experiential gifts, subscription services are also on the radars of some consumers this year – 7 percent 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, reaching 45 percent of consumers. Only 25 percent of consumers told NPD that they did not plan on purchasing gift cards this holiday season, while the rest were unsure at the time of the survey.
“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.”