What Do Women Most Want For Christmas? "Gift Cards"

Consumer Reports conducted a survey to determine the consumer mood this coming holiday season. They found that of the poll respondents:

23% will spend less
22% will finish shopping right after Thanksgiving, down from 30%
45% will not finish shopping until the second week of December
20% will not finish shopping until December 24
66% did not make a budget last year
57% will not make a budget this year
8% went “way” over budget last year
24% regifted last year
27% of women regifted
21% of men regifted
19% most want electronic gifts
12% most want gift cards
25% of men want most want electronics
15% of women most want gift cards
13% of women most want electronics
71% say clothing is the number one gift they will buy
38% said last year clothing was the most disappointing gift they received

(1,003 interviews were completed among adults aged 18+. Interviewing took place over October 18-21, 2007. The margin of error is +/- 3% points at a 95% confidence level)

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  1. Ship_GWB_To_BAGHDAD says:

    Fuck that! I want a handsome, RICH man with a BIG dick!!

  2. Meg Marco says:

    @Ship_GWB_To_BAGHDAD: That’s what the rest of us got last year. Now we want gift cards.

  3. Manok says:

    My wife wanted a new watch but I told her the stove has a clock on it.

  4. BigNutty says:

    The gift card, according to my wife, has ruined the idea of shopping for that special present for each person on one’s gift list. She considers it for lazy people that don’t really care what they purchase for others.

    So of course for my birthday today I received a gift card for Best Buy.

  5. faust1200 says:

    Gift cards my ass. You want money, just say it.

  6. azntg says:

    “Friends don’t give friends gift cards.”

    I must’ve said that out loud too often. When I got out of line and offered to give the $25 debit gift card (accumulated from credit card reward points) to my younger brother, he more or less recited that back to me. D’oh!

  7. ThePopOversAreDone says:

    I want a pumpkin.

  8. ThePopOversAreDone says:

    Or world peace.

    Or Consumer confidence.

    Or my email to take less than 18 hours.

  9. c0nsumer says:

    It amazes me that people feel comfortable giving devalued cash as gifts.

  10. Charles Duffy says:

    @c0nsumer: Ehh. Extend that argument, and any purchased (as opposed to constructed) gift might as well be devalued cash, unless its resale value is equal to or greater than its purchase price.

    That said, there *is* a point to gift cards, much as there is to giving purchased gifts: Giving something something they’d enjoy but aren’t able to justify spending the money on or otherwise wouldn’t acquire for themselves given the funds. (For me, that’s Jamba Juice gift certificates; I haven’t been able to justify going by there on my own dime since getting the wife, house, and like responsibility-encumbering goodies, but I sure am fond of their products). (Likewise, my wife is thrilled when I receive a gift card for a restaurant we both like, as going out on our own dime is difficult to justify when compared to uses with a positive long-term effect on our financial well-being).

    Yes, for someone looking for a gift which is used in a manner which most optimally represents my interests, cash would be better (any cash gift would effectively pay down the house a little faster, and thus be earning interest over the remaining course of the mortgage)… but for someone looking to put a smile on my face or my wife’s, a well-chosen gift certificate can do the trick more effectively.

  11. Maulleigh says:

    I think the 27% re-gift is a little low. I don’t re-gift, but I do give things to my friends and family saying, “This was given to me by so-and-so. It’s not really my thing. You want it?”

    My mom re-gifts chocolates; if she’s given a box of something she doesn’t open it. She keeps it around so when company drops by, she can whip off the plastic.

  12. MaliBoo Radley says:

    I think that gift cards are great. The many years of getting presents I don’t want are over. The only real problem is that I never seem to use every last cent .. I hate wasting money.

  13. Piquant1 says:

    The survey states 85% DO NOT want gift cards. While gift card may be good gifts for a few, most of us do not want gift cards.
    The title should be changed.
    Personally I despise giving or receiving gift cards.

  14. Youthier says:

    @azntg: Agreed. Please actually shop for me. If you’re that worried I won’t like it, put the gift receipt at the bottom of the box.

  15. Kierst_thara says:

    I’m torn on the gift card issue. On the one hand, it’s clear that there are some companies out there with fee/expiry/limited use policies that are only after the ‘free money’ that comes from gift cards that are purchased but not redeemed, and I hate to think I’m supporting that.

    On the other hand, gift cards for things like movies/live theatre/restaurants/etc. are a great alternative to buying someone yet another piece of over-hyped consumer junk that they may or may not want cluttering up their house.

  16. rptrcub says:

    Gift cards, to me, are awesome. It saves the people I love from trying to shop for me, and it really helps out when I’m short on cash. No, I’m not a college student. No, I do not have massive debts. Yes, I’m fiscally responsible.

    At the age of 26, I’d rather have the means to get what I need, than to have everything I want.

    What would really be awesome if there was a store that would allow you to trade the gift card in order to make a donation to Kiva or some other charitable organization, without having to go drop the card off in a donation box–do it all online. Hello, Target?

  17. Lizawithazee says:

    Notice the discrepency between what people give: clothes; and what people want: money and electronics. Sad to think we’re such bad gifters.

  18. Starfury says:

    I like getting gift cards…as long as they’re for a place I’ll shop. Got a half price book card for my birthday and only have used up $10 of the $25 it’s for.

    I tend to get what I want/need during the year and when Christmas comes and the family says “what do you want?” I usually don’t want anything.

  19. I hate getting gift cards or money. There’s no fun in guessing what they are and unwrapping them! I think it’s the 8-year-old in me, but I’d much rather get something in at least a shoebox-sized package (if not bigger). I don’t even mind if it’s wrapped with last week’s funny pages. I just want something to unwrap.

  20. etinterrapax says:

    @Starfury: Ditto. If I get a card for a place where I don’t want or need anything, sometimes I’ll use it to buy a gift for someone else at another time of the year. Heh. So if you don’t want gifts from the Gap, don’t give me Gap gift cards for Christmas.

  21. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    @elizamulcahy:

    Yeah, my mom gets that. Since she lives halfway across the country, she often sends me a check for my bday, but she also sends at least a little something for me to unwrap.

  22. mk says:

    If you get a gift card for a place you don’t want, there are lots of places online that will let you trade or exchange for one you do want. I’ve never used one. Any word on how well these places work?

  23. erratapage says:

    When I turned 40, I stopped wanting presents. Now, I want to spend my money on vacations and dinners out. Please… save me from more stuff.

    I feel the same way about gifting to others. I just don’t want to buy people who have too much stuff more stuff. However, some of the younger members of my family don’t have enough money to buy necessities. That’s what Target gift cards are for.

  24. bbbici says:

    @radleyas:

    Hence the brilliance of gift cards for retailers. Once a shopper is in the store, they are likely to spend much more than the value of the gift card.

    But yeah, I really don’t want material gifts anymore. Restaurant gift certificates, movie passes, massages gift certificates, etc. are what i give and want.

    We all have too much crap.

  25. Mary says:

    “The gift card, according to my wife, has ruined the idea of shopping for that special present for each person on one’s gift list. She considers it for lazy people that don’t really care what they purchase for others.”

    “Friends don’t give friends gift cards.”

    PLEASE DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS ADVICE. If someone says they want a gift card, give them a gift card! I’m having to rattle people’s teeth to convince them that I DO NOT want anything. I’m an adult. I want to choose my own clothes, I want to choose my appliances. I’ve also spent the last year of my life finally getting rid of all of the junk that I’ve accumulated over the last two decades of my life. Right now, the idea of somebody giving me MORE junk is just appalling.

    And right now with my financial situation, giving me a gift card to spend at the bookstore is giving me the best thing in the world. It frees up my book budget to be spent on something else.

    I don’t need things anymore, I’m too old for that. I want gift cards. I’ve given my relatives a list of stores that I like to shop at and that’s what I want.

  26. UpsetPanda says:

    I think if someone would rather have a gift card, let them have a gift card. I like giving gifts almost as much as I like receiving gifts. Gifts are only really good though, if you actually want the item you’re getting. It’s why I always ask, cause even if you like giving a gift, you should find out what that person actually wants. Listen to them…what a concept! I think most people who want gift cards have been victims of people who things they enjoy, not considering the other person’s actual wants. Though some people do consider and still misfire.

  27. scarletvirtue says:

    @Manok: Ouch. I’m guessing that you got cut off for a while for that one.

    @radleyas: I like gift cards too – especially for department stores/clothing shops. My family can get a bit carried away with them, admittedly, but we try to make up for it by giving “actual gifts”.

    Also, at the office Christmas (pirate) party, I’ve noticed that gift cards are the most fought-over items. Although, there have been some CDs and DVDs that were fought over, too!

  28. ThePopOversAreDone says:
  29. SOhp101 says:

    If you’re close with someone (you should only buy christmas gifts for close friends), then there should be no problem giving cash. Why limit the versatility of legal tender?

    If you have a friend that’s fine with giving gift cards but uncomfortable with giving cash, something’s wrong upstairs.

    @Ship_GWB_To_BAGHDAD: You say that now, but after you get a few lines and a lot looser, he’ll probably dump you for a newer, 2017 year model.

  30. Mary says:

    @SOhp101: The reason I personally prefer gift cards to cash is that with cash, I put it in the bank and then it doesn’t get spent on something nice, or something fun, or something just for me. Last year, my parents gave me cash. I spent about half of the value on some dvds I wanted, and then forgot about the rest of it and it just ended up in my general budget.

    When I’m given a gift card to a store I shop at, I’m being given free reign to go to that store and spend money on ME. I can’t spend it elsewhere, I can’t rationalize and tell myself it’s better to save it, it’s better to spend it on something practical, etc.

    So when I ask for gift cards, I’m asking because I want to shop at that store but stop myself because I can’t spare the budget.

  31. luvfreedom says:

    For all of you wanna bees, here’s a thought for you…

    When was the last time you took your wife on a date? To the movies or theater? Most women love romance and trust me when I say, Christmas is a very romantic time of year.

    How about a trifecta – Rent a nice car, get a sitter for the kiddies, reserve a room at a nice 4 to 5-star B&B or hotel, enjoy a nite on the town, and head for the hotel, where you had the matre ‘d put your favorite ice cream on ice for you. What you do with the ice cream is up to you!

    Ooo la-la!!