Consumer journey for gift-buying for children


To understand the consumer journey when buying gifts for children for birthdays or the holidays.

Early Findings

  • A white paper from the Toy Industry Association, while fairly outdated, gives detailed information on the decision-making process for toys and games.
  • 6 in 10 toy or game ideas come from asking children directly.
  • Around 20% of purchases are as a surprise, that is, as a gift.
  • Of the 60% of toy/game purchases that are done as part of a plan (not impulse), around 1/3 will change their mind in-store.
  • 21% of parents stated that their children first gave them the idea digitally - via email, text or online wish list.
  • The "optimal" marketing strategy for gift-buying parents is suggested to target the in-store shopper.
  • Martech blog has a visual tool of 3 holiday gift-buying personas. While not specific to buying for kids, they are still relevant for understanding how to target holiday gift-buyers. Bargain shoppers are most open to trying new retailers.
  • ThinkWithGoogle reports 18% of shoppers purchase all their gifts between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, whereas 70% were still shopping in the week before Christmas. As the time before Christmas draws closer, more and more shoppers look to purchase locally/in-store.
  • 40% of holiday shoppers want better inventory information available online.
  • Searches for "clearance" items peaks right after Christmas.
  • Forbes reports some gift-buyers are looking for, " increasingly innovative and personalized experiences that create memorable journeys to their emotional gifting destination". One example of this is, "the American Girl store in NYC offers a full-service salon with hairstyling, ear piercing and manicures for both child and doll, encouraging consumers not to simply come shop for a gift but to instead turn a trip to the store into the gift itself. This turns a gift from a simple doll’s dress into a day of pampering and bonding between parent and child."
  • Similarly, "Take this one step further with parents being able to explore and interact with large toys and electronic devices via virtual reality (VR) before gifting them to children."
  • One research paper found that, "The product categories that most prevalently advertised on children’s television had a significant relationship with the product categories that parents perceived to be the most important to give their children as gifts. Furthermore, the results indicate that this relationship was not contingent upon parental advertising mediation or child product requests."

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