Fewer People to Spend More on Grad Gifts

May 19, 2010

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Boomers & Older | CPG & FMCG | Data-driven | Household Income | Men | Retail & E-Commerce | Youth & Gen X

Fewer people will buy graduation gifts this year than last, but average gift spending per person will rise, according to a new survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and BIGresearch.

Overall Spending to Remain Flat
Total spending on graduation gifts is expected to remain flat at about $3.9 billion, according to the NRF 2010 Graduation Consumer Intentions and Actions survey. The survey finds that 31.4% of consumers will buy at least one graduation gift this year, down slightly from 32.5% in 2009. However, gift givers will spend an average of $89.95 on gifts this year, up 2.2% from $88.01 in 2009. The average gift-buyer will purchase goods for two graduates.


Cash is Still King
While the percentage of consumers planning to give cash declined slightly this year (58.3% compared to 58.9% in 2009), it is still the most popular graduation gift category. Other popular options include gift cards (31.6%, up from 29.4%), apparel (11.4%, up from 9.9%), and electronics (10.6%, up from 9%).

Wealthy, Northeasterners, Men, Older Will Spend Most
When planned graduation spending is broken out by demographic, the biggest spenders are consumers earning more than $50,000 per year ($107.18), Northeasterners ($102.26), men ($100.36), and consumers 65 and older ($94.88) will spend the most.


Young Adults Show Different Buying Pattern
The survey also found that gift-giving among young adults is far different than other age groups. Young adults are more likely than others to give apparel for graduation (24.9%), compared to 11.4% of all adults older than 18. Young adults are also far less likely to give cash, with 49% percent of 18-24 year-olds giving cash compared with 58.3% of all adults.

“Young adults, who may be graduating themselves, want to acknowledge special events in their friends’ lives with gifts but are spending on a budget,” said Phil Rist, EVP, Strategic Initiatives, BIGresearch. “Many young people buying graduation gifts will opt for greeting cards, college apparel or other inexpensive items to say congratulations.”

Mother’s Day Spending Expected to Rise
Consumer spending for the most recent major gift-giving occasion, Mother’s Day, was expected to increase 3.5%, according to a previous NRF/BIGresearch study. The average person was expected spend $126.90 on Mother’s Day this year, up 2.4% from $123.89 in 2009. Total spending was expected to reach $14.6 billion, a 3.5% lift from $14.1 billion last year.

About the Data: The NRF 2010 Graduation Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted for NRF by BIGresearch, was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to graduation. The poll of 8,431 consumers was conducted from May 4-12, 2010.

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