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Etsy’s Gifting Survey Unwraps the American Psychology of Gift-giving

Following the stress of the 2023 holiday season, Etsy has announced its efforts to bring gift-giving back to a place of joy in 2024. Determined to give its customers a shopping experience that doesn’t feel like a burden, the online marketplace looked first to understand how people gift through a consumer survey that examined the psychology behind America’s gifting habits.

Among its findings, the company pointed to several takeaways that the researchers said were surprising, including self-imposed pressure, gifting faux pas, white lies and a connection between the perfect gift and an improved sex life. Further, Etsy’s researchers said that, ultimately, Americans’ relationship with gifting is as complex and nuanced as the relationships they have with one another with great value placed on giving and receiving thoughtful gifts.

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Still, just as every consumer has their own consumer behavior trends they fall into, Etsy’s survey results show that approaches to gift-giving vary across generation, genders and sometimes Zodiac signs. And while a majority of Americans (57 percent) reported that they “consider themselves thoughtful gift-givers,” it is an act that “comes with a lot of pressure.”

Notably, across all generations, Millennials were most likely to count themselves as thoughtful gift-giver (66 percent), compared to other generations.

Three-quarters of survey respondents believe that being a good gift-giver is important and shows someone how much they mean to you. However, 64 percent also feel that it takes a lot of effort to find the “perfect gift.” Two-thirds of Americans admit to struggling to find the perfect gift with 71 percent reporting they have felt anxiety about fit shopping within the past year.

When it comes to gender, Etsy’s survey found that men were more confident. While 76 percent of men are confident in their ability to buy a great gift for female significant others, only 37 percent of women agreed. Though to that end, Etsy’s report also found that men raked finding the perfect gift as just as stressful as doing taxes and more stressful than turning off their phone for the day, with 67 percent of men saying they “put in a lot of effort and feel stressed out about finding the perfect gift.” Men who said their mothers place a high importance on gifting were also found to be twice as likely to be good, caring gift-givers.

At the same time, Etsy found a correlation between a consumer’s Zodiac sign and their approach to gift-giving. For example, the company’s survey found that Geminis are the most likely to have a romantic relationship start or become more serious, as a result of a great gift. Libras, however, were found to be the most likely to have had sex with someone who had given them a good gift. Meanwhile, Virgos stood out as the most competitive gift-givers and those who need the most help knowing what to buy.

When asked further about gifting between couples, consumers told Etsy that gifting well holds a lot of weight in the relationship. According to the survey, couples who are “very confident” in their partner’s ability to give them a good gift have twice the amount of sex than non-confident couples. Additionally, two-thirds of Americans ranked getting a great gift from their partner to be “sexier” than their partner cooking for them, doing chores or getting along with their friends.

Almost 60 percent of Americans told Etsy they have also become more attracted to someone as a result of receiving a thoughtful gift, which for some resulted in starting a romantic relationship or getting more serious about a relationship.

Believing that gift-giving should be joyous, Etsy has announced that it will use its deeper understanding of the pressures Americans feel around gift-giving gleaned from its research to create Gift Mode. Utilizing AI technology and combining it with human curation, Gift Mode was created to make it easier for consumers to find thoughtful gifts, the technology is an interactive hub that the company says will “redefine gift-giving as we know it.”

Users are now able to use Gift Mode on Etsy’s site to find the perfect gift by inputting traits about the person they are gifting for and selecting from more than 200 personas to view diverse listings from all of Etsy’s categories and inventory.

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