Top Holiday Trends For 2021: Personalized Gifts, Holiday Cards and Home Decor

(BPT) - The holiday season is a special time to share meaningful moments and gifts with loved ones to show each other you care. This year, people are finding new ways to celebrate and share joy with customized cards, personalized gifts and festive decor topping holiday lists.

“As consumers get ready for a second holiday season during the pandemic, we’re seeing an increase in online retail sales. Despite market predictions of a decline due to consumer concerns with the evolving pandemic and supply chain issues, overall retail sales in August were up 15% from last year,” said Jim Hilt, president of Shutterfly, a pioneer and leading ecommerce retail and manufacturing platform for personalized products. "Sharing meaningful moments is how people want to celebrate most this year. With Shutterfly, people have the ability to create things with meaning and receive products easily due to our ability to deliver products on demand. That’s why this year people are looking for one-of-a-kind gifts they can personalize for loved ones.”

The holidays are the busiest time for Shutterfly, producing an average 165 million cards, as well as millions of personalized books, calendars and ornaments. That means roughly half of all Americans expect to receive a Shutterfly card this holiday season.

The sheer volume of holiday orders gives the company unique insight into top consumer trends and what will be on everyone’s gift and to-do lists this year. The recent Shutterfly Holiday Retail Consumer Survey conducted in partnership with Ipsos uncovered insights into Americans’ holiday shopping plans and behavior in 2021.

Holiday cards

In today's digital age, you might think sending holiday cards is a fading tradition, but in actuality it's growing. The survey found that 44% of consumers plan to send holiday cards to friends and family, up 10 percentage points from last year.

A quarter of consumers plan to send photo cards and 22% plan to send personalized cards. Who is sending these holiday greetings? Younger age groups show more interest in sending photo and personalized cards, with 40% of 18- to 34-year-olds planning to send photo cards or personalized cards. That’s significantly higher than the less than 20% of 55- to 70-year-olds that plan to send personalized photo cards.

No matter your age, sending a holiday card sends the message that you care. Whether you prefer lighthearted cards with customized phrases that make people laugh or more traditional greetings with family photos and messages of holiday merriment, sending cards gives people near and far a reason to smile.

Personalized gifts

Finding the perfect gift might seem impossible, especially for the person who seems to have it all. Getting something that is unique and reflects the recipient's personality is easy when you personalize.

One-third of Americans plan to buy a personalized or customized gift this holiday season, which shows that making something special for loved ones is a popular choice. Those who are looking for personalized gifts feel that it's the best way to show family members or friends that they care. Other shoppers believe a personalized present carries more meaning than a typical gift.

From books and toys to home goods and ornaments, there are many personalized products available that will leave a mark on the world in a way that only you can. When creating personalized gifts, consider including things like photography, names, dates and personalized phrases (like that fun inside joke) and any item becomes one of a kind.

Shopping trends

With supply chain disruption top of mind and worries about thin inventory and missing out on the best gifts, many consumers are shopping for the holidays earlier this year.

Gifts are often drivers for holiday shopping, but that's not the only reason carts are filling up in stores and online. A quarter of consumers plan to purchase new holiday home decor this year. Plus, with convenience and safety in mind, it's no surprise 58% of consumers said they are more likely to shop online rather than in-person this holiday season, the Shutterfly survey found.

“As consumers get ready for a second holiday season during the pandemic, they are looking to create meaning in each gift they give and every activity they plan," said Hilt. "Holiday cards, personalized gifts and new home decor are three top trends helping to create and share gifts with meaning this year."

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