Wrapped in frustration

Online shoppers see gift-wrapping as an increasingly time-consuming hassle and will pay retailers to do it for them.

'Twas the night before the office White Elephant exchange, when all through the house,
the sound of Fred’s duel with tissue paper scared even the mouse.
He was just about to rip the offending gag gift apart,
When Gladys asked, “Why didn’t you add gift-wrapping to cart?”

It’s the most wonderful time of the year... unless you’re one of the legions of frazzled adults across the world trying to wrap a mountain of oddly shaped last-minute gifts. (In that case, may the force—and the forgiving power of invisible tape—be with you.)

This month on BOXpoll, we’re updating—and adding to—our catalog of consumer research on gift wrapping as an ecommerce feature.

Paying for gift-wrapping

Key takeaways:

  • Almost three-quarters (71%) of consumers—and 4 out of 5 Millennials— have a reason to pay someone else to wrap their presents for them. Meanwhile, the percentage of shoppers who saw no reason to pay for gift-wrapping dropped 7pp since we last asked two years ago.
  • Consumers value their time and effort more as they get older. While GenZ is more likely to be motivated by their recipient’s unboxing experience, Millennials and GenXers pay for gift-wrap primarily to save time and effort.
  • Gift-wrapping became perceived as more of a time-consuming hassle in the last two years, with 7pp increases in shoppers who selected “some gifts are hard to wrap” and “wrapping gifts takes too much time.” This makes sense, as most consumers have tighter schedules and less free time now than in winter 2021, when the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was confining many Americans to their homes.

Value-add gifting features

Key takeaways:

  • The two most valuable online gift-wrapping features to consumers—especially Millennials—are a choice between multiple options and a preview of the final look.
  • Consumers' opinions on this topic have remained constant over the last two years, implying that retailers can confidently leverage these results to inform their 2024 gift-wrap strategies.
While GenZ is more likely to be motivated by their recipient’s unboxing experience, Millennials and GenXers pay for gift-wrap primarily to save time and effort.

Preferred gift-wrap aesthetic

Key takeaways:

  • Consumers—especially Millennials—are divided on the type of gift-wrap they want. We suspect Millennials’ split decisions stem from having the widest variety of gift recipients to shop for. Their preferred aesthetic likely depends on whether their gift is for the young children in their family, a friend, colleague, or elderly family member.
  • We recommend retailers offer at least 2-3 options to cover all scenarios.

Perceived worth of gift features and unfamiliar retailers

Key takeaways:

  • Surprisingly, consumers are willing to spend more on some gift features for smaller shopping carts.
  • More than half of consumers are willing to pay $3.99 for gift-wrap from an unfamiliar retailer
  • When the price moves from 3.99 to 5.99, we see a much less significant drop in willingness to pay than between $5.99 and $7.99.

While surveys are useful for directionally predicting consumer behavior, percentages and dollar amounts shown should not be taken as precise predictors of actual behavior in all scenarios. We recommend brands conduct thorough A/B testing to precisely determine the most effective gift-wrap options and price points for their customers.

BOXpollTM by Pitney Bowes, a weekly consumer survey on current events, culture, and ecommerce logistics. Conducted by Pitney Bowes with Morning Consult // 2200 US consumers surveyed November 2023. © Copyright Pitney Bowes Inc

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