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With a Pandemic End in Sight, Do Gifts Keep on Giving?

With shoppers unable to see friends and family during the COVID-19 pandemic, gifting surged.  But with almost 20% of the country vaccinated and grandparents able to hug their grandchildren again, will these trends slow?  In today’s insight flash, we look at the trajectory of gifting trends, as well as which shoppers were most likely to be gift givers and which brands saw the biggest boost.

Throughout the pandemic, Specialty Food/Drinks saw the largest jump in spend among gifting options, with spend nearly doubling in April 2020 vs. the prior year April.  Party/Novelty/Gifts has seen growth over 20% y/y for every month since April, accelerating into the summer and spiking again in November and December.  Floral gifts saw an initial spike to 58% spend growth y/y in April 2020, though growth slowed to only 15% in May lapping an already flow-heavy Mother’s Day month.  All three gifting subindustries saw a very strong January with y/y growth around 50%, and February decelerations for Specialty Food/Drinks and Party/Novelty/Gifts were to a still extremely high 40% y/y growth.  A sharper deceleration for Floral may have been the result of lapping an already flower-heavy Valentine’s Day month.  This indicates that gifting trends are still strong even as the country begins to emerge from quarantines.

Gifting Spend Growth

Across gifting subindustries, gift givers unsurprisingly skew higher income.  The Party/Novelty/Gifts subindustry is the most popular gift type for younger and lower income shoppers.  Floral appeals the most to those making $80,000 – $150,000 per year and aged 45-64.  Specialty Food/Drinks is most popular among the oldest and highest income groups.

Gifting Demographics

Note: Those who made at least one purchase in subindustry 1/1/2020-2/28/2021

Within these trends, some brands are benefitting more than others.  Baskets seemed to be one of the most popular gift types.  1-800-Baskets and Urbanstems both saw over 150% growth y/y in 2020.  Gift Card Mall and Gourmet Gift baskets saw over 100% growth.


Note:  1/1/2020-12/31/2020 vs. 12/31/18-12/31/2019