When it comes to holiday gift-giving, some prefer to get personal. They aren’t satisfied with checking off a list of requests, or going the gift card route. Driven by the thrill of the search and the pleasure of success, these shoppers will stop at nothing to find the perfect present: something that friends and family will truly treasure. Their goal is to be appreciated as the season’s ultimate gift-giver; the one whose offerings are always remembered fondly at get-togethers and family gatherings.
Once a rare breed, so-called “thoughtful shoppers” have multiplied exponentially, thanks to the dawn of smartphones, sophisticated search engines, and other digital tools that simplify the hunt for memorable gifts. Mirroring this trend is a Google analysis which shows that mobile searches including the terms “thoughtful gifts” and “unique gifts” have risen 170% and 110%, respectively, over the past two years. Youtube videos on holiday shopping have seen a similar surge, garnering nearly 400% more views this year than two years prior. In fact, Youtube search volume for the term “gift” itself reached a five-year record high in 2017.
Tailored specificity is the hallmark of the thoughtful shopper’s holiday habits; it’s the trait they prize in all of their gifts. The care with which an increasing number of shoppers are choosing presents is apparent in their search results. Mobile searches including the words “gifts for art lovers,” “gifts for football lovers,” and others following the pattern “gifts for (insert term) lovers” have increased 130% since 2016.
Other search patterns illustrating the thoughtful shopper’s attention not only to the status of the recipient, but the giver, have increased as well; mobile searches for terms like “gifts for mom from son” have risen 140% in two years. Perhaps unsurprisingly, among the most radical spikes in gift-related queries were mobile searches to help with finding gifts for difficult recipients; phrases along the lines of “gifts for dad who wants nothing,” or “gifts for wife that has everything” were searched 230% more than two years ago.
Perhaps most revealing of a larger shift in holiday buying habits is the fact that 66% of all holiday purchases last season were premeditated, according to an omnichannel holiday study by Google/Ipsos. To aid thoughtful shoppers in their quests for the best gifts, marketers can tailor ads that appeal not just to the value of their deals, but the pleasure in gift giving. They can ensure that marketing stretches beyond the confines of their website, and place ads in spaces where those channeling the Christmas spirit are most likely to see them. In addition, advertisers can aim to surface best-selling gift genres in search results, and develop localized campaigns to drive store traffic.