April 28, 2021 •
Mind Over Matter
While most stationery and gifts serve some sort of tangible function, they are splurges at heart. One of the many lingering coronavirus effects on the American psyche has been a thoughtful shift in the attitude toward indulgences of all kinds, described Pam Danziger of Unity Marketing. “The luxury market is entering a new era of conscientious luxury, as opposed to conspicuous luxury, which was the driving force in the luxury market for the last 50 years or more.”
So, when a given product is not an essential, customers tend to regard it with criteria such as localism, sourcing, packaging, materials, manufacturing practices and cause-related elements. But it is only the criteria that has shifted; what remains unchanged is that “shopping behaviors remain a means to an emotional end,” explained consumer psychologist Chris Gray, Psy.D. of Buycology. But now the brands one purchases can express one’s identity, explore and discover different cultures and destinations, meet aspirations and feel safe and secure, he continued.
When the item in question is a gift, the selection itself is more meaningful since it often replaces an actual physical interaction. “Gifting is not just about expressing care for another person, there is a lot of identity wrapped up in what someone gives to another person,” Gray noted. “It says something about you, that you are a thoughtful and caring person.”
This elevates gifts into something that is far more than just another commodity, but this emerging truth is not yet widely recognized, he continued. “Think about greeting card aisles in Walmart or Target stores. That is one of the few categories in those stores that is always a gift, but those aisles are treated much like toilet paper. They lack context around how meaningful it is to select and give a gift. This is important for retailers and brands to consider.”
With this important mental shift comes redefined Baby, Gift/Home, Office and Winter Holiday markets. Keep reading to see their new dimensions!