Survey Finds Fewer Gifts This Year For Kids, But More "Family Time" Among Recession Holiday Trends

Shopping and celebration plans have taken several dramatically different twists in this angst-laden holiday season. So says a survey of 500-plus families with children completed last week by Just Kid, Inc., one of the nation's top child and family research, new product and strategy firms. Just Kid surveyed mothers of kids 8-12 and found dramatic changes in 2008 holiday behavior.

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an astounding 77% of families we surveyed have changed their shopping behavior markedly this year.

Stamford, CT (PRWEB) January 5, 2009

Fewer gifts this year for kids, but more "family time" among recession holiday trends, survey finds. Mom's little secret: don't take junior to the mall.

Shopping and celebration plans have taken several dramatically different twists in this angst-laden holiday season. So says a survey of 500-plus families with children completed last week by Just Kid, Inc., one of the nation's top child and family research, new product and strategy firms. Just Kid surveyed mothers of kids 8-12 and found dramatic changes in 2008 holiday behavior.

"While it's not unexpected in light of the economy, some of the changes we've observed are rather counter-intuitive," says Just Kid founder and CEO George Carey, a 20+ year analyst of child and family behavior for America's leading marketers. In all, says Carey, "an astounding 77% of families we surveyed have changed their shopping behavior markedly this year."

Among the most prominent findings:

Kids will suffer, dads will not: More than half of moms surveyed -- 56% -- say they're buying their kids fewer gifts than in prior years.

Fewer gifts going outside the immediate family: More than 60% of those surveyed are cutting back on gifts for folks outside of the immediate family.

The good news for families, albeit not for retailers, is that families are planning more "family time" as a replacement for the traditional overabundance of gift giving.

Moms report they're also far more deliberate in their shopping this year. Over half say they're doing more comparative shopping (55%) and using more coupons and store circulars (51%). 39% are exclusively buying discounted items and an impressive 36% are sticking strictly to their shopping lists.

The credit crisis is definitely effecting how moms are paying for these purchases. 27% say they are using cash and/or debit cards more often, with only 7% saying they are using more credit cards this year. 28% of the moms say they are making purchases of things usually considered to be necessities and using these as gifts this holiday season.

Kids may not like to hear it, but mom is also trying to keep them out of stores more this year. 20% of moms report they are less likely to take their kids on shopping trips this year. Perhaps this is one thing that has made the kids themselves aware that things are different this year.

Among families surveyed, moms report their children want to help out financially this year. 1 in 4 say their children have considered selling their old toys or games to help pay for presents this year and 11% say they have already done so. Most kids are doing this to buy something for themselves, however, while some are doing it to buy for others or to try to help with the family's financial difficulties. Some moms say that their children more likely to sell old toys this year than in previous years.

Families are cutting back in many ways in addition to changing gift giving habits. 25% of those surveyed plan to travel less while 22% are utilizing the idea of making homemade gifts. Families are working together to create new and less expensive holiday traditions. Also, there will be fewer and smaller holiday gatherings.

"This will clearly be a different holiday for many families this year," says Carey, "even for families of means." Carey is pleased to discover the silver lining in a struggling economy: families will spend more time together.

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