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Tis the season to be gifting

As we approach Christmas and New Year, marketers should be looking for opportunities to harness the "season of gifting". However, with the economy not fully recovered and with consumer's interest in all things "green" and "social", we're anticipating that consumers are being more innovative in how they can spend less but actually give more.
Tis the season to be gifting
Research conducted by the Collective that polled upper income consumers on their holiday shopping found that half are planning to spend less than they did last year, with many looking specially for gifts that offer more value. About 25% plan to either buy gifts where proceeds are donated to a good cause or make a charitable donation in the name of a friend or loved one. This commitment to do-good gifting also suggests that more consumers are carefully researching their purchases. The study also shows the following seasonal trends,

  • Buy one, give one -- more conscious consumers are expressing the desire to "purchase with a purpose," and they respond well to buy one, give one programs.
  • Greener designs -- sustainable ideas continue to make short lists, with a big emphasis on organic, recycled and solar, such as energy-efficient appliances, bicycles, organic and fair trade coffees, chocolates and teas, reusable shopping bags and gifts made from recycled materials.
  • Custom works -- in addition to direct donations or gifts that give a portion of proceeds to charity, many non-profits now sell their own customized gift items. For example, The Rhino Force Supporter's bracelet is a gift that not only looks great but also shows that the wearer is actively supporting anti-poaching efforts in South Africa.
  • Local is lekka -- consumers are also committed to increasing spending on items that are locally sourced and environmentally friendly. Supporting organic markets helps ensure that gifts are unique and will help neighbourhoods thrive.
  • DIY gifts -- more consumers are crafting their own gifts, finding inspiration online to produce crafts, cards, food and décor items.
  • Give experiences -- clutter is out. Memories are in, which is why more consumers are giving memorable experiences in the form of trips, meals, concerts or classes.
So on the face of it, these consumer trends are the antithesis to marketer's who are looking to push sales and drive volumes during gifting season. However, for the tenacious marketer, these trends present wonderful opportunities.

Lastly, remember that during this time of extreme clutter, conscious consumers prize transparency, accountability and authenticity more than ever. They are looking for deeper, more meaningful relationships - a chance to participate in brands and be empowered by them. Brands that align their values with their actions will earn enduring loyalty among conscious consumers.

While conscious consumers care deeply about the world around them, they prioritize issues that affect them directly. Brands offering products and services that deliver quality, affordability and sustainability will do better with conscious consumers.

This up and coming gifting season look for ways that empower consumers to be creative, save money and feel like they are making a real difference. At the same time be sure you are authentic, that you share knowledge and connect with them on a deeper, more meaningful level.

16 Sep 2011 11:43


About the author

Michael Gullan is the Managing Director and founder of Gullan&Gullan Advertising (Pty) Ltd. He has more than two decades experience at creating value for brands on client accounts from food and beverage, to cosmetics, mail order, medical, publishing and financial services. Gullan&Gullan's propriety brand-centric™ methodology forms the basis of every communication service Gullan&Gullan offer their clients, ensuring that the brand's core values are expressed in a congruent, consistent manner at every touch point.