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Study: Shoppers more likely to give food gifts for the holidays

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ROCKVILLE, Md. —  It’s beginning to look a lot like food gifting season. Market research firm Packaged Facts estimates 54% of those who purchased food gifts for others in the last 12 months have done so for the winter holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Likewise, 29% of those who have purchased food gifts for themselves have done so during this period.

The findings were published in the report Food Gifting in the U.S.: Consumer and Corporate, 6th Edition.

“The winter holidays have become a food gifting mainstay,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. “Even food gifting sales for other popular occasions including birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day can’t match the flurry of activity during the winter holidays.”

Types of Food Gifts Given and Motivations for Purchasing

Overall, boxed chocolates/candies remain the most prevalently chosen food gift that people purchase for others, with some 27% of food gifters purchasing boxed chocolates/candies for someone else in the past 12 months, according to Packaged Facts’ survey. Other relatively widely purchased food gifts include coffee/tea/hot chocolate gifts, sweet baked gift foods, nut/salty snack gift foods, and popcorn tins/gifts.

Not to be overlooked, convenience is an important motivating factor that food gift purchasers cite as a reason for choosing to give these types of presents.  Part of convenience involves delivery availability and purchase convenience for out-of-state gifting. Givers also often consider food gifts as ideal for people who “don’t really need anything” but who nevertheless would enjoy a high-quality and attractive present.

Amazon and E-Commerce are Pivotal, but In Person Purchases at Walmart and Other Stores Still Trending

While online shopping may be an important component of the food gifting purchase experience, it remains a supplementary driver. Some 29% of food gifters say they typically look for specialty food gifts they can purchase online.

Packaged Facts estimates that 36% of food gifters have purchased food gifts at Walmart and 27% purchased them at similar stores such as Target, Kmart. Some 30% purchased food gifts from a traditional supermarket and 28% did so from a warehouse club.

Ever omnipresent Amazon is used to buy food gifts by 24% of respondents. Some 10% of respondents use this source the most for their food gifting needs. Other digital-only options, such as online floral retailer and other online-only retailer, rank near the bottom of the list.


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