Scotch tape…and a bottle of scotch

Online shoppers frustrated with gift wrapping yearn to have retailers do it for them

‘Twas the night before Christmas,
When the sound of Dad struggling with wrapping shook the whole house.
He was just about to tear the offending toy apart,
When Mom asked, “Why didn’t you add gift-wrapping to cart?”

Every year, the giftwrap box emerges from its hiding spot in closets and attics around the world, bringing holiday cheer to some and immense frustration to others.

And it’s not just the gifts for their own households that need to get wrapped. Two-thirds of consumers (66%) said in our most recent BOXpoll surveys that they are shipping the same number or more gifts than last year, with an average of more than 5 recipients per shopper. One in four Gen Zers and one in five Millennials say they are shipping more holiday gifts to recipients than they did last year.

Wrapped in frustration

Given how much consumers expect to spend on presents this holiday (see our coverage here), we wanted to know whether all that gifting is driving wrapping anxiety. In this month’s BOXpoll surveys, most consumers (64%) and about three-quarters of Gen Zers (75%) and Millennials (71%) told us they have at least one reason to dread gift packaging—so much so that they’d gladly pay someone else to do the packaging for them.

Wrapped up in frustration image

Our main takeaway here: It’s not about time, it’s about skill and creativity.

We were expecting to see the familiar trend of busy Millennials (often parents) listing time as a top value, but when it comes to reasons consumers would pay for gift-wrapping, time doesn’t crack the top three.

  • A quarter (28%) of consumers and one-third of Millennials (32%) will pay to avoid packaging a hard-to-wrap gift. Sellers of plush toys, large, wheeled objects, and other oddly shaped goods, take note!
  • A quarter (26%) of consumers, consistent across generations, will pay because they feel they aren’t skilled at gift-wrapping. If you can save them the embarrassment of botching a simple box wrap or the beginner’s gift bag/tissue paper combo, it’s a win for both parties.
  • One in five Gen Zers (20%) don't feel that they can package a gift as creatively as they would like. This is an opportunity for retailers to differentiate (and boost their brand) by offering outside-the-box options.

A silver (or gold!) lining

So, here’s an opportunity for retailers: turn gift packaging into a revenue driver (provided your fulfillment center can support this service!). Now the million-dollar question: how much will consumers pay, and for what?

Key takeaways:

  • Baby Boomers retain the Scrooge award from last month. More than three-quarters of Boomers will not pay for any gift packaging, regardless of type. This skews the percentage of those who would pay significantly downward for each category. Those who would spring for packaging would pay significantly less than other generations, skewing those averages downward as well. Maybe we should give MeeMaw and Pops a Data Outlier award, too.
  • The most popular type of gift packaging is what you’d expect: wrapping paper or a gift bag. Almost half of consumers (43%) would opt for the outer packaging, with more buy-in from younger shoppers (52% of Gen Zers and 54% of Millennials).
  • The most valuable type of gift packaging to the average consumer (who would pay) is the least expensive for retailers to provide: better quality inner packaging. Tissue paper is worth about $10 to both Gen Z and Gen X, and a whopping $12.45 to Millennials.
  • Gen Z’s most valued option is a personalized notecard or handwritten note, worth a whopping $12.39.

We also wanted to find out what would boost the likelihood shoppers will pay for gift packaging. Great news for retailers – two-thirds (66%) of consumers (and more than three-quarters of Gen Zers and Millennials) will pay something if offered one of the following features:

Key takeaways:

  •  Preview images are valuable to more than a one-third of Gen Zers, Millennials and Gen Xers. And while Baby Boomers continue to be the least interested age group for any given option, one in four (28%) Boomers are more likely to pay for a wrapping job if they can see what they’re getting first.
  • Choice between multiple different packaging options has similar popularity, with 39% of Gen Zers, one-third of both Millennials and Gen Xers, and one-fourth (23%) of Baby Boomers showing interest.
  • Eco-friendly or reusable gift-wrapping is exciting to one-third of Gen Zers, but falls a bit flat with older generations.

BOXpoll™ by Pitney Bowes, a weekly consumer survey on current events, culture,and ecommerce logistics. Conducted by Pitney Bowes with Morning Consult //2094 US consumers surveyed November-December 2021.© Copyright Pitney Bowes Inc.