Selfish Shopping Boosts Sales

Dec 22, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

A report in the Christian Science Monitor says nearly one out of four holiday shoppers last year bought a gift for someone very near and dear — themselves.

America’s Research Group found that in 2002, 23 percent of shoppers engaged in the act of self-gifting.

In another study, Euro RSCG found women are more likely to give themselves a holiday gift than men. Roughly half of the women under 35 polled said they buy themselves something
for the holidays.

The number of so-called self-gifters is expected to increase as the nuclear family model (married couple with kids) continues to fragment. In 1950, the paper reports, households
with married couples represented 80 percent of the U.S. total. Today, that number has fallen to 51 percent.

Paco Underhill, author of Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping said this had led to a feeling on the part of many that, “If I don’t get it for myself, nobody else will.”

Moderator’s Comment: How has the shift from the nuclear family to alternative models affected retail sales? Should retailers overtly market to self-gifters
during the holiday season?
Anderson – Moderator

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