Important research from Olin professors can help you avoid the embarrassment of giving unwanted or unappreciated gifts this holiday season! Read on, dear consumer, before you pay good money for a present that will be shoved into a drawer, tossed in the trash, or worst of all, re-gifted!
Research from Joe Goodman, associate professor of marketing, finds that “experiential” gifts provide more happiness than “material” gifts, but that consumers are reluctant to give “experiential” gifts to people they don’t know well. Goodman and his coauthor, Sarah Lim, a researcher at the Center for Happiness Studies at Seoul National University, explain this paradox in their working paper, “Giving Happiness: Consumers Should Give More Experiences but Choose Material Gifts Instead.” Link to paper.
Skip the Monogram
Associate marketing professor Robyn LeBoeuf says gift-givers often want to impress someone with a very personalized gift that shows how much they care and know the person. Meanwhile, the gift recipient really would prefer that you skip the monogram or gift card to that very special one-of-a-kind restaurant or store.
LeBouef says she was surprised to find that personalized, special gifts tailored to the recipient often backfire, but it turns out that people prefer presents that are more versatile and less specific. Watch video:
LeBoeuf ‘s working paper “Excessive Personalization in Gift Giving: Givers Choose Personalized but Less-Versatile and Less-Preferred Gifts” is co-authored with
Mary Steffel, University of Cincinnati Carl H. Lindner College of Business and Elanor F. Williams, an assistant research scientist at the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego.