Toys for Kids, But Not for Grown-ups

Good news for marketers of kid toys, bad news for marketers of grown-up toys. An online survey by the Parenting Group (initiated in mid-October via its Web site) asked mothers how, if at all, they plan to adjust their holiday-shopping plans in light of the current lousy economy. Twenty-seven percent said they’ll spend as much as they “normally” would on gifts for their kids, but intend “to cut back on the cost of gifts for the adults on my list.”

Responding to the same question, 35 percent said they’ll buy the same number of gifts as they have in the past but will spend more time “seeking out the best bargains” and will “comparison shop among retailers to get the best prices.” Thirty-three percent said they’ll set “a specific dollar amount” for their gift-buying budget and then stick to it.

One often-ignored fact of the holiday season is that many people dread having to shop for gifts, even if they avoid the crowds by doing much of it online. We can wonder whether some of these folks are secretly glad that the economy’s meltdown has given them a respectable excuse to shop less than they’d otherwise feel obliged to do. Anyhow, while 41 percent of respondents to a Rasmussen Reports poll earlier this month said they regard holiday gift shopping as a “fun experience,” 40 percent said they find it an “unpleasant chore.” Nonetheless, a majority of respondents (54 percent) said they’ll spend more money on specific gifts than on gift cards. Nineteen percent said they’ll spend more on gift cards than on actual gifts, while the rest were unsure either way.