It never goes out of style — the gift of clothing. Once again this year, clothing is the top gift category for the holidays, with 63.5 percent of shoppers surveyed by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation (NRF) saying they will give the gift of new threads.
The second biggest 2006 gift category is what Phil Rist of BIGresearch calls "Read Watch Listen & Play," in other words — books, CDs, DVDs and video games, which 62.2 percent of shopper surveyed say they will give this year.
Gift cards come in at No. 3 and will be given by 56.2 percent of shoppers. Slightly more than 48 percent will give toys, and 33.4 percent will wrap up goodies from the electronics category.
Of those categories, this year´s "big mover," Rist says, is electronics, up to 33.8 percent from 28.5 percent last year.
“It’s the whole category of merchandise,” he says. “Not just the big-screen TVS, but the accessories — the docking stations for iPods, accessories for your computer, digital cameras.”
As for the Sony PlayStation 3 — this year’s hot and in-short-supply game — Rist says he does not understand why manufacturers always seem to restrict supply in order to increase demand. If those manufacturers really listened to the gamer market, they would know that active gamers want the new items and will buy them. “Gaming as a leisure time activity is not just for the young kids. The information we have is that active gamers go well into the mid-30s and early 40s. It will continue to be a growing category.”
Rist spoke to reporters during an NRF-sponsored conferece call with reporters on Friday.