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Occasionless Gift Giving Drives Retail Sales Among Millennials

Forget birthdays, Christmas and baby showers—“occasions” are the least of a millennial’s concerns when it comes to springing for a gift.

Turns out this demographic is fond of buying gifts for others for no particular reason, according to the 42 percent who told gifting technology firm Loop Commerce they’ve purchased a gift just for the fun of it—far ahead of the 26 percent of baby boomers and 36 percent of Gen Xers who also engage in occasionless gifting.

Similarly, millennials are into finding unique gifts tailored to the recipient—perhaps a factor in why they like just-for-fun gifting—and are less susceptible to sales and discounts than their elders. Asked their top gifting concern, 71 percent of millennials said it was the distinctiveness of a gift, while 70 percent of both boomers and Gen X place a higher priority of finding a gift that’s marked down.

Given how much they love giving gifts for fun and securing just-for-you presents, it’s little surprise that millennials worry more than other generations about whether the recipient will like the purchase. Fifty-two percent of millennials share this concern, more than the 46 percent of Gen Xers and 38 percent of boomers who feel similarly.

Millennials were the least likely to claim they have trouble finding the right gift—perhaps because many see everything the recipient likes and shares on social networks. While nearly two thirds (63 percent) of boomers believe gift giving is hard, 58 percent of millennials share this concern.

Because they’re fans of giving unique gifts, millennials showed the lowest affinity for giving gift cards compared to other demographics. Gen Xers are the most likely to give someone a gift card (39 percent), followed by 36 percent of boomers and 33 percent of millennials.

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Retailers typically think of the holidays as the zenith of gift giving but of the 20 to 22 gifts most people buy each year, 89 percent are for birthdays versus 77 for the year-end festive season, according to Loop Commerce.

“Our usage data shows that when it comes to shopping for others, millennials are thoughtful, year-round gifters, and are the most likely to buy for others outside of the standard gifting occasions,” said Roy Erez, CEO of Loop Commerce.

“The data also shows that, while post-holiday gifting can sometimes be an afterthought for retailers, there’s a golden opportunity for brands to accommodate millennials looking to shop for others all year round. By making it as easy as possible for an entire generation to send meaningful gifts online, retailers could capitalize on revenue they weren’t capturing before.”