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By Hein Kaiser

Journalist


Gift ideas: What people want for Christmas

There’s renewed interest for home improvements, arts and crafts as gift ideas.


What is under the tree this year? Millions of children and festive adults have been shaking gift wrapped boxes and sneaking peeks into piling gifts under Christmas trees.

With a week to go, retail is bracing itself for a last-minute rush after the traditional long weekend shutdown post 16 December.

Michelle Venter of Bold Online Marketing said research into gifting showed a sustained DIY trend.

Arts and crafts

“Arts and crafts and do it yourself gifts remain one of the most searched for traffic items online,” she said.

“And while shoppers do not necessarily make gifting purchases online, the search numbers for hobbies and DIY continue to climb.”

She suggested that this represented the sustained shift that the pandemic has brought about, where millions around the world saw renewed interest in home improvements, arts and crafts.

Men’s gifts

And it’s men who seem to be the most challenging to gift. Venter said that searches for gift ideas for men almost outweigh gift ideas for women on the double. Yet the direction givers of gifts seem to head in show nothing more creative than the stock standards.

“Short of socks and ties, people are seeking out self-care and grooming kits, snacks, drinks and hampers for men as well as tech gadgets, fitness watches and sports and hobby related items,” she said.

Women’s gifts

Venter added that while it seemed men were far more challenging to buy gifts for than women, a search on gift ideas for women revealed what could be expected in her stocking. Rose gold jewelry is trending, bracelets in particular.

Venter added: “Dream journals and daily journals have also seen a massive resurgence in popularity while novelty advent calendars, those produced by designer labels, have also gained a lot of traction.”

Gift cards for retail therapy at a later stage, in fashion and beauty, are also hotly Googled.

Then, Venter added, the traditional fragranced oils and burners or diffusers and beauty product staples like perfume and makeup remained popular, too.

Watch: Christmas gift guide

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The thought seems to count more than the price tag, she noted.

There was no clear indication of budget conscious searching online. Rather, she said, more refined searching, and a lot of it. She said: “Apart from shopping online, consumers seem to do a lot more research before braving the malls, and instead of aimlessly looking for gift ideas in shop after shop, they park, shop and depart with more purpose.”

Children’s gifts

Children’s gifting is probably the most expensive category, as thousands of parents turn over their wallets to stores for the magic of an excited unwrapping of Santa’s spoils on Christmas.

And it seems as if parents are not budget conscious at all despite economic circumstance.

Venter said: “Gaming consoles top the search statistics by a mile.

“And while kids’ searches are broken down to age and gender, PlayStation, X-Boxes and other gaming accessories seem to surge ahead of any criteria. It is going to be huge, again, this season.”

No single retail brand seemed to enjoy preference in search except for stationery and arts and crafts store PNA Stationers.

Venter said: “It is the only retail store that is tagged onto every search for arts and crafts, and while it’s not at the level of gaming consoles, it is a massive festive gifting search. And what is equally as surprising is the immense association between brand and product. Searches for PNA and arts and crafts are almost a breakout term.”

And unbelievably, parents are Googling the willies out of “slime”. Based on the numbers, it seems that goo is good business, and every kid wants one, and every parent wants to know where to find the stuff. And it is not at the ANC NEC conference this time.

Dinosaurs, Thomas The Train and other toys also feature strongly, as well as YouTube phenomenon Blippi’s merchandise, which is not available in SA yet.

Venter noted that beyond gifting parents are also readying themselves for school next year, with back-to-school searches rapidly growing in numbers.

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