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19 December 2012

Parents Choose Products for Christmas, not Brand Names

Keywords: Christmas, marketing, parents, Australia & Oceania, consumer behavior, decision making, marketing strategy, survey,

Parents are expected to uphold the Santa Claus myth. Many parents feel this responsibility and give Christmas gifts to strengthen the parent-child relationship. But how do parents decide what to give? A study in the Journal of Consumer Marketing shows that parents select Christmas gifts by product type, not brand name.

Take aways

  • Parents think giving specific products to children at Christmas, like dolls, clothes or bikes, is more important than giving certain brands. 
  • Parents consider Christmas gifts in terms of product category rather than brand name. 
  • Parents prefer traditional Christmas gifts such as teddy bears, dolls, trains, and soldiers.
  • Children request gifts on their wish lists (and often ask for brands), but parents give those they think are most appropriate. This is often an alternative to the brand requested.
  • Never underestimate the power of the parent when marketing to kids, even when it’s Christmas time. 

Study information

  • The question?

    Do parents find giving certain brands to children at Christmas just as important as giving certain products?

  • Who?

    450 parents with at least one child between the ages of 3 and 8 years old

  • Where?

    South East Queensland, Australia

  • How?

    In November, five primary schools and seven kindergartens supported the research by sending questionnaires to parents. About one-sixth of the parents filled out the questionnaire, answering questions about their considerations when buying presents for their children at Christmas. 

Facts and findings

  • Parents found giving gifts to their children at Christmas very important, but not giving specific popular brands as gifts. 
  • This means that parents choose gifts by product category first and then choose the brand.
  • Parents preferred traditional Christmas gifts such as teddy bears, dolls, trains, and soldiers.
  • Parents gave those gifts they considered most appropriate. This was often an alternative to the gift requested by the child.
  • An explanation for these findings could be that parents don’t like the commercial side of Christmas and therefore look at specific products rather than popular advertised brands. 
  • Tip! The original article contains an executive summary, discussing implications for managers and executives (see link on the right side).