As a 32-year-old, newly married homeowner, I’m in peak gifting season. My generation is in the midst of big life moments (weddings, babies, birthdays, job changes, reunions etc.), and I’m always hunting for a gift to celebrate—and finding the perfect gift is no easy feat. It takes time, strategy and empathy to properly celebrate the big days, the little ones, and even recognize the bad ones. But it’s equally as rewarding as it is challenging, especially as sustainability, simplicity and flexibility are prioritized over ownership.  The struggle to find the perfect gift (for the gift giver and receiver) is very real.  We all feel it.

With 36% of US shoppers willing to pay extra for the perfect gift[1], at FITCH we think brands have a big opportunity to step up.  But how do you tap the gifting economy and build loyalty, while consumers are focused on pairing down?

  • Embrace New Identities To Stay Relevant 

Shifting views on gender, age, sexuality and race are giving rise to evolved traditions and new milestones. Changing consumer lifestyles are influencing what people value, how they celebrate and why they give (think self-gifting, conscious upcouplings, Galentines Day etc.).  In the US, only 48% of Gen Z identify as exclusively heterosexual, compared to 65% of millennials[1]and 55% of 18- to 34-year-olds say that getting married is not an important marker of adulthood.[2] Acknowledging the new and different moments consumers are celebrating is critical to relevancy.

  • Create Experiences To Emotionally Connect

In today’s digital world people want real-life connection more than ever.  Millennials are a big driver of this shift in priorities ; 72% would rather spend their money on an experiences over material things[1], and as Gen Z’s spending power rises the trend shows no signs of slowing.

  • 85% of U.S. adults agree that experience gifts are a great way for both the giver and receiver to enjoy something together[2]
  • EXAMPLE:Foyles, American lifestyle brand Anthropologieand Japanese lifestyle retailer Muji all hosted complimentary card-making workshops in the UK and Japan, respectively. 

  • Reframe Products To Create Memories

As people are increasingly nomadic, and life digitized, objects are valued as expressions of identity and personal history. Roughly half of people worldwide keep objects that are connected to memories[1].By helping consumers create, save and showcase moments in time, brands become part of people’s stories and stay top-of-mind with positive associations.

  • Stay Simple To Build Confidence

By focusing on why people are giving and what they hope to achieve, you can add ease to the gifting process and provide peace of mind. From tech driven tools (think AI chatbox and data driven recommendations) to employees as styles concierges, brands are innovating ways to simplify selection and build confidence.  

  •’s gifting tool, QuickMeetsEasy, allows people to answer three questionsabout their relationship in exchange for tailored gifting recommendations.
  • Guide New Generations To Lead Culture

People are seeking guidance in a changing world, and increasingly value brands that help them navigate. By staying close to customers and becoming the champions of tradition – new and old – brands can play on a bigger stage, influencing culture rather than just responding.  From hosting speed dating events on Valentine’s Day to self-gifting promotions, we’re already seeing future-thinking brands take lead.

  • 70% of American 18- to 25-year-olds want their parents to teach them more about the emotional aspects of a romantic relationship (heartbreak, jealousy and commitment)

I recently went to a bridal shower for one of my best childhood friends. I scoured the world trying to find the right way to mark the special occasion. Selecting something arbitrary from the gift registry didn’t feel quite personal enough.  Especially since we no longer live in the same state I wanted to find something that wouldn’t end up hiding in a cabinet for years. Instagram inspired me to buy her something I never considered and linked me to the perfect product: drinking glasses that perfectly captured her edgy style. Shortly after the shower she sent me a thank-you note that made me smile big, and grateful to Instagram for the help.