Summary

Although gift-giving is a global tradition that has been around for centuries, the practice has changed drastically since the 1800s—from a meaningful exchange of valuable goods to a commercially-driven social obligation centered around popular holidays. In the last century, retail and consumer product companies have become the center of the gifting experience, building extensive strategies and rituals around the practice. By creating convenient physical locations to purchase consumer goods, offering related services such as gift wrapping, and evolving their product strategies with consumer tastes, many retailers have dominated gifting.

But as the internet has transformed retail, consumers now face nearly unlimited options from limitless companies. As a result, both consumers and companies are shifting their gifting strategies. Competition is growing from the explosion of digitally-native brands, the increasing power of media companies, new gifting technologies and the never-ending rise of social media platforms. All told, gifting today and in the future is shaping up to look much different than it did in the past.

This report looks at:

  • How past and present gifting is evolving.
  • How these changes are affecting brand and retailer strategies.
  • How brands, investors and real estate developers can take advantage of these developments

Featuring case studies on Burlington, Buzzfeed, Facebook, GiftNow, Glamour, Glossier, Instagram, Lightrail, Macy’s, Pinterest, Snapchat, Topshop, Victoria’s Secret, Walmart, Warby Parker, and WeChat.

This article is exclusive to Loose Threads Members, who get access to forward-thinking research, events and our analysts—so they can grow the right way in the rapidly changing consumer economy.