Virtual Gift Cards Poised To Become The Hot New Gift Item For Future Holiday Seasons
Virtual gift cards combine two hot gifting trends into an easy-to-choose and give gift item
Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar has become a trendsetter in the business of gift marketing. Applebee's joins Amazon.com and Nordstrom.com as one of the first to offer its customers virtual gift cards, the online equivalent of the plastic version gaining traction in the gift market. With this move, the mid-priced family restaurant capitalizes on two important trends: the increase in interest in gift cards as the go-to gift, and the growth in number of consumers who do their gift shopping online.
Applebee's Digital Gift Cards, the newest offering from the restaurant chain, have no fees, never expire, and are honored at all of the restaurant's locations. They are available online at Applebees.com and on the company's Facebook Fan Page.
"Virtual gift cards are the logical next step for marketers who want to meet gifters where they shop," says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and lead researcher on theGifting Report 2010: The Ultimate Guide to the Consumer Gift-Giving Market. "Our survey of nearly 1,700 gift shoppers found that the internet or online websites, like Amazon.com or eBay.com, were ranked by nearly 40 percent of gifters as their favorite 'go-to' destination for gift shopping, making the internet the second most popular source for gifts after discount department stores like Wal-Mart and Target."
"At the same time, gift cards emerged as the most popular gift item, tied for number one with consumable gifts such as food, wine, candy and cookie treats. The most popular types of gift cards were for discount department stores and book, record, and video stores. This aligns with gifters' expressed preference for giving a gift that matches the personality of the recipient, and what does that better than the gift that lets the recipient choose for him- or herself?" Danziger says.
"However, Applebee's and others need to carefully target their virtual gift card offerings to reach those most likely to buy. For example, our research finds that gift cards are more popular among women than men, while male gift givers tend to be the biggest spenders online. Marketers may need different strategies to attract each gender to their virtual gift card offerings. For example, women are by far the most active users of Facebook, so distribution of virtual gift cards through that venue may require a more female-centric positioning than that on the home website." Danziger notes that the Gifting Report provides detailed information about the differences in gift choices and shopping preferences between men and women. Click this link to learn more about Facebook users.
"Additionally, our research finds that experiences, such as dining, are often not considered an option for gift purchase. Restaurants like Applebee's can change that perception by positioning their experiences as a good gift choice. Perhaps reaching out to gifters online and on Facebook, as Applebee's is doing, will entice consumers to complete their gifting from the comfort of their home computer, while allowing them to give a gift they are sure the recipient will like. But, as with all such efforts, those who are considering offering a virtual gift card must be sure that they will find their target market online, or the efforts could be disappointing," Danziger concludes.
New Gifting Report 2010 offers fresh perspective on the gifting consumer
The current report is a totally new look at the gift-giving practices and shopping behaviors of Americans. Building upon previous research conducted on the gifting market, this study presents an expanded view of consumers' gift buying and giving behavior based upon a survey of 1,680 gift buyers.
Danziger explains, "Unity Marketing's aim in publishing the Gifting Report 2010 is to translate the research data into useable information. Marketing executives seeking to build their gift business can use the findings in this study to make critical strategic decisions. It provides marketers with three powerful perspectives: 'What?' 'So What?' and 'Now What?' The report is written to reveal the key research findings, explain why they are important to marketers, and then help marketers find ways to put the research to use in developing new concepts, new strategies, new tactics for success."
Marketing starts with understanding the customer and understanding the customer requires research
This Gifting Report 2010 is the ultimate guide to the consumer gift-giving market. It includes:
- What Gifts People Give
- What Holidays and Occasions They Gift
- Where They Shop for Gifts
- How Much They Spend
- Opportunities for Marketers to Target the Gifting Market
The gifting market -- defined as items or experiences purchased to give as a gift -- represents roughly $1 out of every $10 spent at the GAFO-type of store. Buying and shopping for gifts is a big business.
What's more, making a gift purchase is an important motivator for retail shopping throughout the year, but most especially in the Christmas holiday gift buying season which officially kicks off the Friday after Thanksgiving. Called 'Black Friday' this day is so named because it marks the period when retailers go from being in the red (i.e., posting a loss on the books) to being in the black (i.e., turning a profit).
This report is a totally new look at the gift-giving practices and shopping behaviors of Americans
The current report is a totally new look at the gift-giving practices and shopping behaviors of Americans. Building upon previous research conducted on the gifting market, this study presents an expanded view of consumers' gift buying and giving behavior based upon a survey of 1,680 gift buyers. Intended for marketers and retailers that tap the gift market, this report presents:
- Gifting behavior by holiday and occasion: Key characteristics of the gifting market, such as on what holidays and occasions consumers buy gifts, how many people they buy gifts for and their relationship with the gift recipient, such as spouse, child, close family member, etc. and how much they spend. This report also reveals what range of products people choose for gifts, what drives their selection of particular gifts and what drives their selection of stores to shop for gifts.
- Demographics of the gifting market: How many households buy gifts, how much they spend by key demographics, and the key different demographic segments within the gifts market (e.g. HHI, age, size, composition, education, etc.)
- Gifts market buying behavior: What are the primary characteristics of the consumers' buying behavior related to different gifts? What makes a good gift? What attributes and qualities make gifters want to buy? Where do they shop for these items; how do they decide to purchase one item over another? What is the role of brand in gifting buying behavior? What is the purchase incidence and spending on key categories of gifts?
- Psychographic profile and segmentation of the gifting market: The psychographic profile of gift consumers reveals their different drives and motivations in purchasing gifts. What factors are more or less important in driving gift purchasing decisions? How can gifts marketers and retailers better understand the hearts and minds of their consumers and use that insight to capture a greater share of the consumers' gifting budget? In essence we reveal "why people buy gifts."
New data collected on gift recipients gives a whole new perspective to the gift research
This report includes brand new gifting data, such as the primary gift recipients for each holiday and occasion. For example, about half of the Valentine's Day gifts bought are intended for children. Who knew?
New data points in this study include:
- Gift recipients for each holiday and gift occasions: Not only is the number of people gifts are bought for collected, but also what the gift givers relationship is with those gift recipients, specifically gifts for your spouse/significant other; child(ren); close family member, such as mother, father, sibling, grandparent; other family member such as aunt, uncle, nephew, niece; close personal friend; child's friend; casual friend; co-worker; child's teacher, sitter; service provider, such as personal trainer, hair stylists, etc.
- Analysis of the household's primary gift givers: In the survey respondents were asked whether they were the person in their household primarily responsible for gift purchases. With over 80 percent of the sample comprised of 'primary gift givers,' this provides a view to an even more selected and engaged target market.
- Deep dive into Christmas gift and Birthday gift buying behavior: This year for the first time detail data is collected about each product gift bought for Christmas and birthday gift giving, plus where people shopped for each of those gifts. This data allows marketers to determine whether people's shopping behavior is different for these two most important gift shopping experiences and the other gift holidays and occasions throughout the year.
- Gift choices ranked as 'go to' gift category: Data is collected about 10 different gift categories, such as personal care items, giftables, consumables, electronics and more and nearly 100 individiual product and experience categories, such as candles, DVDs, women's fine jewelry, kitchenware and more. Further each of the ten categories is ranked as to whether it is one's favorite 'go to' gift category, good for most people and most occasions; appropriate for some people and some occasions only; or something the rarely or ever gift as a gift.
- Types of stores ranked as their 'go to' source for gift shopping: Nearly 40 different types of stores and other shopping venues are tracked in this report, broken into three major categories of shopping venues: General merchandise stores; non-store retailers, internet, catalogs, TV shopping, etc.; and specialty retailers, include book stores, food stores, drug stores, electronics store and many others. And each of the 38 stores included in this report are ranked by respondents as either their 'go to' destination for gift purchases; appropriate only for occasions and some people; and stores where one rarely shops for gifts.
- Brands ranked as good to give as gifts: Not only is brands that people purchase for gifts and stores where they shopped for gifts recorded, but in this survey more than 20 brands are ranked as to whether they are good to give as a gift or not.
- Internet as a source for gift shopping: For those respondents who had used the internet to buy gifts in the past year, an additional series of questions were included to gather more details about how they used the internet and their satisfaction in using the internet for gift shopping. A list of websites were rated as a source for gifts as well.
Nearly 100 Specific Gift Products Are Included
Nearly 100 specific categories of gift items within nine major categories of goods and services are detailed. The major categories of gifts include:
- Consumables (such as food, candy, wine, gift baskets, etc.)
- Clothing and/or fashion accessories (such as handbags, shoes, wallets, etc.)
- Jewelry and/or watches
- Personal care products (such as cosmetics, perfumes, bath products, etc.)
- Home furnishings and household operations products (such as home furnishings, decorative accents, housewares, home textiles, china, glass and tableware, small household appliances)
- Giftables (such as flowers, candles, figurines, collectibles, greeting cards, stationery, crafting kits and supplies, seasonal decorations, gifts for pets and/or other popular gift-type items)
- Books, Recreation Goods and other Non-digital/Electronic Entertainment Goods (such as books, sporting goods, games, puzzles, etc. Not electronics.)
- Electronics (personal electronics, such as cell phones, PDA's, MP3 players, cameras and photographic equipment, personal computers, as well as home electronics, such as video/audio, DVD's and entertainment equipment, home computer systems, Wii and electronic games, etc.)
- Store gift certificate and/or gift of cash, by type of store
- Gifts of experience (such as spa treatments, dining and restaurants, vacations, trips, travel, special events, etc. which are often presented as a gift card or gift certificate)