You don’t need to look at current gift industry statistics to know that gift-giving can take a toll on your budget. We’ve all heard the adage “It’s the thought that counts” when it comes to choosing the perfect gift, and fortunately, gift industry trends in 2021 show this is an adage that’s actually true.
Read on to find out all the latest gift industry statistics and how you can personalize gifts to make you the G.O.A.T of gifting all year round without draining your bank account.
Gift Industry Statistics
We crunched the gift-giving numbers for you, and the results aren’t good for your wallet.
For the most common gift-giving holidays in the United States, Americans spend the following on average:
- Valentine’s Day gifts: $164.76
- Easter gifts: $179.70
- Mother’s Day gifts: $220.48
- Father’s Day gifts: $174.10
- Christmas gifts: $648
The bottom line: The average person spends $1387.04 a year just on holiday gifts. That total doesn’t include life milestones that traditionally involve gifts, like birthdays, graduations or retirements, so you’re likely to spend even more.
Here are some shocking gift industry statistics broken down by holiday.
Valentine’s Gifting Statistics
Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day or Singles Awareness Day, you’ll probably have to open your wallet for a night out at the very least.
- Americans spent $4.1 billion on flowers and $2 billion on candy in 2021.
- On average, men spend more than women on Valentine’s Day. Men spend $231 while women spend $101 on Valentine’s Day gifts.
- Of the $21.8 billion spent on Valentine’s Day gifts in 2021, $1.1 billion was spent on gifts for pets.
- The pressure for Valentine’s Day gifts seems to be heaviest in young adulthood and middle age. People aged 25-34 spend an average of $240 on gifts, and people aged 35-44 spend $264.
- Despite what jewelry commercials may lead you to believe, only 10% of people give jewelry as a Valentine’s Day gift. The most popular gifts are candy and flowers.
- Valentine’s Day is the second-largest card-giving holiday, not including the valentines kids exchange at school.
Easter Gifting Statistics
Most Easter gifts are delivered by a bunny delivering eggs. (We don’t get it either, and at this point, we just go with it. It’s one of life’s greatest mysteries.)
- Americans spent $21.6 billion on Easter in 2021, but only $3.74 billion of that total was spent on gifts. The rest was spent on food and decorations.
- The most popular Easter gifts are food-based, with 75% of people giving chocolates and other candy and 30% giving colored eggs.
- Only 20% of Easter gifts are homemade.
- The average Easter gift cost $31.06 in 2021, representing the lowest cost per gift of all the major gift-giving holidays in the United States.
Mother’s Day Gifting Statistics
Moms have the toughest job of all, but fortunately, people go all out for Mother’s Day as a way to say thanks.
- The most popular gift for Mother’s Day is jewelry, with Americans spending $6.08 billion on bling for Mom in 2021.
- On average, Americans spend more on moms than anyone else they give gifts to, spending $220.48 on a gift.
- People aged 25-34 spend the most on Mother’s Day gifts, averaging $367.08 on gifts.
- Most moms prefer an experience for Mother’s Day rather than a gift. In 2020, 35% of moms just hoped for a nice dinner.
Father’s Day Gifting Statistics
Our research proves that you should skip the obligatory Father’s Day tie.
- Dads like the simple things. 28% just want a card and another 28% just want a special outing with the family. Yet 49% of Americans give their dads an item of clothing for Father’s Day.
- Father’s Day spending skyrocketed to $20.1 billion in 2021 from $17 billion in 2020.
- 25% of all Father’s Day cards are humorous.
- $3.39 billion is spent each year to take Dad out for a special occasion, compared to the $1.51 billion spent on home improvement or gardening tools.
Christmas Gifting Statistics
We don’t need statistics to prove Christmas gifting gets a little insane — we’ve all seen the news stories about Black Friday stampedes and porch package pilfering.
- Americans spent an average of $998 in 2021 on Christmas, with $648 of that amount spent on gifts for friends, family and co-workers. That number was down slightly from $650 in 2020 and $659 in 2019.
- Gift cards were the most requested gift items in 2021, with 56% of Americans putting at least one on their wish list. Americans spent $28.1 billion on gift cards in 2021. The average amount for gift cards is $48.92.
- In 2021, 57% of people shopped online for Christmas gifts.
- 1.3 billion greeting cards are sent every year for Christmas, making it the largest card-sending holiday in the United States.
Gifting Trends of 2021
Money isn’t the only thing to consider when choosing a gift for friends and family this year. Read on to learn the biggest gifting trends of 2021 to help you gift better year after year.
1. Value practicality over desirability.
In the era of Marie Kondo and minimalism, many people are streamlining their lives, and as a result, they are ditching stuff for stuff’s sake.
Consider what the gift recipient will do with the item once you’ve given it to them. Will it sit on a shelf and gather dust? Take up space in an already-cramped closet? If so, opt for something the recipient will find useful or that solves a problem for them.
2. Prioritize personalization over cost.
The simplest gift is a million times more meaningful when it is personalized to the recipient’s interests.
Personalized gifts show the recipient that you care about them. If they love journals, you can elevate a regular spiral notebook by giving them a notebook with a quote from their favorite TV show. Stickers representing their favorite movies can be added to any object as well.
So feel free to opt for something that seems simple or everyday, and make it personal by keeping their interests in mind.
3. Meaning matters more than cost.
In the past year, 85% of shoppers selected gifts based mostly on whether the gift would be meaningful to the recipient. Only 12% decided whether to buy a gift based solely on its price.
Take the time to make a homemade gift, or buy something that reminds them of a favorite memory, like that trip you took over spring break in college.
4. Give beyond the holidays.
During the pandemic, gifts became a way to show empathy and gratitude. In the process, we learned that brightening someone else’s day with a random gift also boosted our own mental health. Let’s keep that trend going into 2022!
Look for the heroes in your community and give gifts for no reason other than to say thank you, or let the people you care about know you are thinking of them with a “just because” gift. These gifts don’t need to be big, nor do they need to be signed. Thank-you gifts and “just because” gifts always bring a smile.
5. Plan ahead to account for global supply chain issues.
Two years ago, nobody knew what a supply chain was, but now the term permeates our vocabulary to the point that it’s become a joke — “Sorry I was late to work. Supply chain issues.”
In all seriousness, the struggles with the supply chain will continue to impact gift giving as long as COVID-19 continues to evolve. Start shopping earlier than you think you need to, because you may have to pivot to plan B (or, in some cases, D or E) before you find something in stock.
Due to staffing shortages and increased demand, even if a gift is in the store or available to order, it’s taking longer to ship it. In October 2021, the United States Postal Service announced it was cutting costs by slowing down mail delivery. So plan ahead so your gift arrives on time.
5 Tips for Personalizing Gifts
If giving is draining your budget during the year, it’s tempting to buy inexpensive gifts, but you run the risk of looking cheap. Instead, focus more on personalizing gifts to save a few bucks rather than how much it costs. You’ll be able to reap the benefits of giving while making someone smile.
1. Find gift ideas on social media.
If you are stumped for gift ideas for someone, consider taking a scroll through Instagram or Facebook.
You can even stalk your friends or family to see what they like. Pinterest is a gold mine for this type of information! Check if they have a “Wish List” board, or get a sense of their taste in clothing by checking out what clothing items they have pinned.
You can also learn more about their hobbies and interests based on who they follow and what they like on social media. If you notice they follow a Corgi photo account on Instagram, you can get them some cute Corgi merch. If they like videos from The Office, a ”world’s best boss” coffee mug may be in order. If you see lots of Ron Swanson quotes on their Pinterest boards, a Ron Swanson mousepad can brighten up their desk at work.
2. Keep the recipient’s social values in mind.
According to the National Retail Foundation, 74% of people report that a company’s social values determine whether or not they will continue shopping with them, a trend referred to as conscious consumerism. Consumers care about a company’s dedication to sustainability and equality in particular, and are willing to pay a bit more to support companies that align with their personal values.
To show the gift recipient how well you know them and how much you care, shop with their values in mind. If they are dedicated to shop local, buy their birthday gift from a local shop. If they are concerned about sustainability, purchase their Christmas gift from a company with a commitment to a low carbon footprint. The recipient will appreciate your dedication to their values and appreciate the gift all the more.
If you choose to donate to a charity in someone’s name as a gift, don’t leave them empty-handed on the big day. Gift a small, inexpensive gift like a tote bag or a sticker and put the certification of donation from the charity with it.
3. Be careful with gift cards.
One of the most requested gifts is gift cards, and Americans spend $28.1 billion on gift cards during the holiday season alone. They sound like a win-win for everyone: It’s easy to purchase and the recipient can get exactly what they want, minimizing the need for returns. But Americans have $3 billion in unspent gift cards lying around.
While it sounds more desirable, a gift card to that expensive restaurant or spa will likely sit in a wallet or junk drawer. Instead, opt for gift cards to places the recipient normally frequents rather than “special” places. If they have young kids, give the gift card and a voucher for free baby-sitting services on a night of their choice to eliminate any potential barrier to using the gift card.
4. Consider the recipient’s hobbies and interests.
Because we sometimes struggle with putting ourselves in another person’s shoes, we are often tempted to buy someone something we would want to receive. If we’re stressed out and want a spa day, we may notice our bestie is also stressed and assume she also wants a spa day, too. Really, she actually prefers to recharge with a good book and a warm blanket.
Your gift needs to reflect the hobbies and interests of the recipient. Sometimes, that may mean doing a little more work. Learn a bit about the hobby rather than just making your best guess at what someone needs. You may also have to enlist some help or do some reconnaissance to figure out what the recipient already has. If that’s not possible, make sure you get that gift receipt!
5. Presentation can take an okay gift to a spectacular gift.
Because it’s the thought that counts, personalizing a gift isn’t just about the gift itself. Think about how you can make presenting the gift as unique as the person you’re giving it to.
Add extra touches like personalized photo gift tags, or send the recipient on a scavenger hunt to find their gift. Think beyond basic boxes or gift bags and find unique containers for your gift, like apron pockets for baking tools, or perfect your fancy wrapping techniques using YouTube tutorials.
The recipient will notice the amount of time you spent preparing the gift before you gave it and know you care.
6. Plan ahead.
The best way to give thoughtfully is to plan ahead. Sit down with a calendar and figure out what gifts you need to purchase this year and for whom. Then consider everything you know about each person and brainstorm a list of gifts they may like. If you know everything you need to buy in January, you can start shopping right away instead of waiting until two days before the event and panic-buying.
Not only will this give you time to find the perfect gift, but it will also help you save money. You can even spread out your shopping over the course of the entire year rather than doing all your Christmas shopping in November. Create a yearly gift budget, and keep notes about what you buy and where you bought it.
It can be challenging to give on a budget without looking like a cheapskate, but don’t be discouraged. Inexpensive gifts can be more personal and meaningful than the most expensive item on their list. In fact, the best givers often don’t spend the most money if they prioritize personalization.