The holiday season means spending quality time with friends and family, taking some time off from our day-to-day lives and giving gifts. For some people, it’s easy to think of the perfect gift to give. For others, it seems impossible to get them something beyond gift cards. It’s not uncommon to see people turn to social media for inspiration for these situations. In fact, a ConsumerSearch.com survey found that social media has become so influential in the past year to consumers as they shop that it is relied upon as much as both word-of-mouth and store advertising to provide holiday gift ideas and inspiration among all ages.
Sixty-five percent of respondents said they rely on word-of-mouth, or brainstorm with friends on gifts for loved ones, while others (64 percent) look to stores and manufacturers to provide inspiration through advertisements, e-mails and store websites. Similarly, 62 percent of respondents said they use social media sources, including user reviews, online wish lists, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
"Through our analysis of shoppers' habits and reviews throughout the years, we've seen an uptick in how people are using social media to get information on products and services from their peers and retailers," said Carey Rossi, editor-in-chief of ConsumerSearch.com, in a statement. "This survey shows us just how much social media is influencing shoppers and changing their habits. Retailers have begun using social media more to reach shoppers with deals and information and we can expect this trend become even more popular over the next few years."
Image via Shutterstock
So besides the universal, “Shopping for my brother, any gift ideas?” status to your social connections, here are some resources for searching for gift ideas via social media.
If you’ve never been to Etsy, I highly recommend it…when you have nothing productive to do. I lose hours on this site because of all of the great things it has to offer. What’s great about Etsy is that it had a Facebook tool to find gifts based on your friends’ interests. The tool is simple, it just scans your friends’ favorite movies, books, TV shows, etc. through items for sale.
Last year, when you visited Etsy’s Gift Finder page, users could click on the “Connect to Facebook” button, and it would scan your friends’ interests for gift ideas. Whether it was a clock made out of an old Bruce Springsteen Record, a necklace based off a popular book series or a pint glass with the Aperture Science logo from Portal, you could find gift ideas you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of. Unfortunately, I don’t think Etsy still has this Facebook integration, but the gift ideas page is still up and running. Users have the option of searching for gift ideas for her, for him, teens, kids & baby, DIYer, friends & coworkers, gardener & naturalist, hostess & gourmet, outdoor & sportsman, pets & pet lovers, tech lover, stocking stuffers and more.
Even though the Etsy Facebook integration tool may or may not still exist, the tool from Giftivo is definitely working. Giftivo’s gift recommendation engine allows users to log in with a Facebook account, select one of your friends or add a new friend, edit your friend’s interests manually and then select the “Find Gift Suggestions” button. The editing feature is actually a great addition to the once-existing Etsy tool, because you may know your friend a lot better than what he or she chooses to display on Facebook.
Another option for accessing a list of gift ideas based on users’ Facebook interests is Overstock.com’s MyCurrent app. MyCurrent is a desktop app that streams your social media content in a ticker-tape format. MyCurrent allows you to continue working on your computer while the feeds stream across the bottom of your screen, much like a newscast ticker tape.
Besides the stream of updates on your screen, the app can be used for gift ideas. The app asks you for access to information people share with you, and then is used to notify you of upcoming birthdays. Birthday reminders will come with links to access a list of gift ideas based on their Facebook interest. In the future, MyCurrent hopes to have this grow to help with additional notifications and gift ideas.
Group gift giving is another popular option every holiday season. theBIGgift, Overstock.com and Facebook have joined together to develop a fun and easy way for people to work together in order to purchase group gifts. theBIGgift is a fun & free group gifting app. Users simply create a group gift, invite friends, suggest and discuss possible gifts, collect money with PayPal and buy your friend a fantastic birthday gift, all within Facebook.
Not into the Facebook integration? Gifts.com allows users to use a “Personality Profiler” to discover unique gift ideas tailored to the recipient’s personality. The personality “quiz” will go on to ask about other factors, such as age, what they do during downtime, where they’d go on vacation, what they always make time for, what type of home they have (kid-free, kid-friendly), types of shoes and many more options.
Image via Gifts.com
In addition to these resources, Pinterest also has a lot of resources for gift idea inspiration. There is the general “Gifts” tab, where users can search for gifts based on price and actually buy from the pin, then there is the search for gift ideas under pins, boards and pinners. There are A TON of boards for gift ideas, but it’s all pretty much just browsing and getting sucked into the Pinterest black-hole-of-addiction.
Building off of Pinterest, there is a great site called Wanelo that is essentially the commerce version of Pinterest. Users can follow stores and followers for a Pinterest-like shopping experience.
I hope these resources help when turning to social media for gift idea inspiration in the coming weeks. Happy Holidays!
Edited by Rich Steeves