The 2021-22 Gift-Giving Report

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At PackageHopper by MyUS, nothing is more important than creating meaningful connections between friends and family (living both domestically and abroad). As such, we exist to facilitate the transfer of products and gifts, internationally.

In furtherance of that goal, we’ve developed the first-annual “2021-22 Gift-Giving Report” to understand the current state of gift-giving in the US. The report is comprised of data from a survey of 1,132 US-based consumers and provides a glimpse into the complex world of gift-giving — highlighting how said consumers rate themselves as gift-givers, what motivates them to give gifts, and what the most meaningful and/or impactful gifts are that have been sent and received between them, their friends, their members, and their significant others.

Part 1 of an infographic including graphs and metrics on gift-giving among shoppers Part 2 of an infographic including graphs and metrics on gift-giving among shoppers

How Respondents Rate Themselves As Gift-Givers

A large majority of respondents believe they are fairly skillful at giving gifts — with over two-thirds of the respondents (66%) rating themselves as “very good” or “excellent” gift-givers. Only 7% of respondents rated themselves as “bad” or “awful” gift-givers.

Males tended to be more modest in their self-assessments than female respondents — with 46% of males and 77% of females rating themselves as “very good” or “excellent” at giving gifts.

Reactions matter in gift-giving, with 76% of respondents reporting to have faked enthusiasm and/or lied about liking a gift they’ve received. ​​Forty-seven percent of respondents stated they have given a gift that they would never give again based on a negative response from the recipient.

Competition When Gift-Giving

Our survey seemed to validate that even gift-giving is a competitive sport with nearly half of respondents (44%) stating that they believe there’s an element of competition with gift-giving.

Whom are respondents competing with the most?:

  1. Siblings: 32%
  2. Significant other: 22%
  3. Friends: 19%
  4. Children: 10%
  5. Parents: 9%
  6. Colleagues: 8%

Of note, male respondents are most likely to compete with their significant others and female respondents are most likely to compete with their siblings.

Finding the Right Gift

As many can attest, it can be difficult to find the right gift for the people in your life. Who are the people toughest to give gifts to?:

  1. Parents: 26%
  2. Significant other: 24%
  3. In-laws/significant other’s family: 12%
  4. Siblings: 11%
  5. Children: 9%
  6. Friends: 8%
  7. Colleagues: 6%
  8. Neighbors: 2%
  9. Teachers: 1%

Male respondents said their significant other is the toughest person to select gifts for, while female respondents said their parents are the toughest people to select gifts for.

Surprisingly, the older you get, the tougher it is to select gifts for your significant other. Below is an age breakdown of respondents that cited their significant others as the toughest person to select gifts for:

18-29: 18%
30-44: 23%
45-60: 25%
60+: 32%

The Motivation Behind Gift-Giving

Gift-giving typically revolves around birthdays, holidays, and special occasions. But, what motivates us to give gifts, beyond the inertia of tradition?  Sixty percent of respondents cited “wanting people I care about to have nice things” as the top motivation for gift-giving. Secondarily, 17% of respondents cited that they “like receiving gifts, so they give gifts” as their motivation for gift-giving.

Spending On Gifts

When purchasing gifts, 37% of respondents said they typically spend more money than what they had initially intended to spend.

Anticipated high expectations are undeniably a factor in gift-giving — with 50% of respondents reporting to have felt pressured to purchase a gift that was out of their budget and/or couldn't afford.

Respondents felt most comfortable spending between $25-$100 when both giving gifts (57% of respondents) and receiving gifts (59% of respondents), compared with all other price ranges.

Spending on Gifts During the Holidays

The majority of respondents (54%) said they plan on spending about the same amount of money on gifts during the 2021-22 holiday season when compared with last year’s holiday season. 20% plan on spending more on gifts than they did last holiday season, and 26% plan on spending less on gifts than they did last holiday season.

The younger the gift-giver, the more inclined the gift-giver appears to be spending more this holiday season (when compared with last holiday season).

Age Breakdown of People Who Plan on Spending More Money on Gifts This Holiday Season, Compared With Last Season:

18-29: 29%
30-44: 24%
45-60: 18%
60+: 11%

While the majority of respondents start their holiday shopping in November, there are a fair amount of shoppers who wait until the last minute to purchase gifts — with males leading the demographic of delayed shopping. In fact, 15% of the males surveyed are planning on starting their holiday shopping later in the year (December), compared with only 9% of female respondents.

The Most Popular Months to Start Shopping for the Holidays

  1. November: 31%
  2. October: 26%
  3. December: 12%
  4. September: 9%
  5. January: 5%
  6. August: 4%
  7. July: 2.6%
  8. June: 2.5%
  9. March: 2.3%
  10. April: 1.73%
  11. May: 1.72%
  12. February: 1.4%

Preferred Types of Gifts to Receive

Nearly half of the total respondents (49%) cited “thoughtful” gifts as the top type of gift they like to receive, while 32% said they prefer “useful” gifts — rounded out by “sentimental” (9%), “monetarily valuable” (6%), and “entertaining” (4%).

The items that topped the list as the gifts respondents liked receiving the most are gift cards (20%), “something mentioned in a conversation that the gift giver remembered” (17%), and handmade gifts (8%).

The gifts that are disliked the most by respondents are clothing/apparel (14%), gift cards (11%), alcohol (10%), collectibles (baseball cards, autographed items, etc.) (9%), and pets (7%).

Notably, gift cards are near the top of both lists — proving that no two gift receivers are totally alike.

The Most Meaningful Gifts

As a gift-giver, providing a meaningful gift to someone important in your life can be a rewarding experience. The gifts that respondents cited as the most meaningful gift they’ve ever received are: gifts related to their favorite things or things that they love (27%), items that once belonged to family members (17%), gifts commemorating a specific date, milestone or event (16%), handmade/custom gifts created by the gift-giver (16%), and “gifts that I needed in the moment” (8%).

Similarly, the most meaningful gifts that respondents believe they’ve ever given are: gifts related to their favorite things or things that they love (28%), gifts commemorating a specific date, milestone, or event (20%), handmade/custom gifts created by the gift-giver (17%), and, items that once belonged to family members (13%).

The Most Monetarily Valuable Gifts

It can be a rush to receive nice/expensive items as a gift, so we set out to determine what are the most monetarily valuable gifts that respondents have received or given to someone.

The most valuable gifts that respondents have ever received are: electronics (24%), jewelry (21%), a car (13%), a vacation/travel (8%), and family heirlooms (7%). Male respondents cited electronics as the most monetarily valuable gift they’ve ever received, while female respondents cited jewelry as the most monetarily valuable gift they’ve ever received.

The most valuable gifts that respondents have ever given as gifts are: jewelry (22%), electronics (20%), tickets to an event (9%), vacation/travel (9%), a car (7%).

The Most Romantic Gifts

The most romantic gifts that respondents have ever received are gifts related to their favorite things/things that they love (22%), gifts commemorating a specific date, milestone, or event (21%), handmade/custom gifts created by a significant other (15%), and expensive/luxurious gifts (fine jewelry, car, etc.) (7%).

The most romantic gifts that respondents have ever given are: gifts commemorating a specific date, milestone, or event (24%), gifts related to their favorite things or things that they love (23%), handmade/custom gifts created by a significant other  (15%), and rare/one-of-a-kind items (6%).

Interestingly, both males and females chose the most romantic gifts that they’ve received as the gifts they feel are the most romantic to give. Males chose gifts commemorating a specific date, milestone, and/or event as the most romantic to give and female respondents chose gifts related to their favorite things/things that they love as the most romantic to give.

Shipping and Sending Gifts

With the rise of e-commerce shopping, many people are electing to ship their gifts to the recipients. Half of the respondents (50%) have adjusted their gift purchases based on how the gift will be transported/given to the recipient this year.

The ways in which people are adjusting their purchases for the purposes of transporting a gift vary, with 21% of respondents stating they’ve purchased gifts online for the ease of shipping to the recipient; 17% of respondents stated they’ve adjusted by purchasing gifts based on how long it will take to ship to the recipient, and 12% of respondents stated they have purchased gifts based on height and weight.

Survey Methodology

Total respondents: 1,132

Margin of error: +/- 3.015%

Country: United States (USA)

Region: All Regions

Gender: All Genders

Gender balancing: Census

Age of respondents: 18- 99+

Age balancing: Basic Census

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