Clothing tops the gift list from parents: Technology lags in gifts for children

Jake GammonHead of Omnibus, US
December 18, 2014, 6:26 PM GMT+0

According to the latest YouGov Holiday Omnibus survey, 98% of US parents with children ages 6-17 will be buying them holiday gifts this year.

The average expected spend by parents for 6-11 year old children is $241, while average spend for 12-17 year olds reaches $383. This equates to a total annual spend on holiday shopping by parents of children 6-17 of over $15 billion.

Top Gifts from Parents

Clothes are the gift most children are likely to be receiving from their parents in almost every gender and age bracket. Only younger boys (ages 6-11) are more likely to receive toys and games than clothes from their parents this holiday season.

Technology gifts were cited about half as often as clothing as likely presents for girls. And while boys are more likely to receive the technology items than girls, they are still less likely to receive a computer, smartphone or gaming system than they are to receive clothing, entertainment or toys and games. Books are a more likely present from parents to girls than technology gifts.

Top technology items include laptops, notebooks and computers for boys 12-14 (19% parents intending to purchase) and in-home game consoles like Xbox or Wii for boys 15-17 (18%) and boys 6-11 (16%). Game consoles are a far less popular gift for girls of the same ages. Girls ages 12-14 are more likely to receive a cellphone (15%) from their parents compared to only 3% of boys the same age. Girls are three times as likely overall to receive a phone as a gift (9% for girls compared to 3% for boys).

Gift certificates are a go-to gift particularly for girls, and more so as they get older. Nearly half (47%) of girls 15-17 are going to receive gift cards or certificates from their parents.

Percent of parents who plan to give each item to their children:

Top places to buy

The trend for online shopping continues with 39% of parents expecting to purchase mainly online and some in store compared to 28% who expect to shop either wholly in-store or mostly in-store and some online.

Walmart and Amazon dominate the retail space for children’s gift purchases, followed by Target at a fairly distant third. Presents for boys are most likely to come from Walmart while girls’ presents are slightly more likely to be sourced from Amazon.

As children get older, parents start relying more on specialty retailers—although mass retailers continue to dominate in every age and gender group. Foot Locker becomes a significant source of presents for boys ages 12 and older, while girls in this age range can expect gifts from Forever 21.

Top Retail Outlets for Parents to Purchase Holiday Gifts

Who is doing the shopping?

In households that shop for the holidays and that have two parent figures, women bear the brunt (or enjoyment, depending on one’s personal preferences) of shopping responsibilities. On average, women say they do 78% of the holiday shopping and men agree that women do a majority of the shopping (although men report that women do 60% of the shopping).

While men fully admit they do not do the bulk of the holiday shopping (in addition to the above statistic, 20% of men admit to barely engaging in holiday shopping activities, being responsible for a scant 10% or less of the shopping), in their opinion, they do far more than they are given credit for. On average, men say they do 40% of the holiday shopping while their wives or girlfriends say men do only 22% of the shopping. Further, nearly one in five men (17%) say they are responsible for 50% or more of the holiday shopping. How many women say this is the case? Zero!

Holidays are Not Only About Gifts

Although gifts are clearly central to most family holidays, most parents are looking forward to family activities with watching movies and TV with their family topping the list. Seventy-one percent expect to watch a movie at home with their children, 58% will view a holiday movie. Family TV-time is also popular with 57% expecting to watch some holiday televisionshows. A still large 35% expect to visit a move theatre over the holidays with their children.

Domestic activities like cooking, baking and decorating the home is a particularly likely activity among parents with younger girls ages 6-11 (baking 75%, decorating 71%), but far less probable with older girls ages 15-17 (baking 47%, decorating 49%). Parents of girls ages 15-17 are actually slightly less likely than are parents of boys in this age range to expect to have their children join in holiday domestic activities (among parents of boys ages 15-17, 53% of parents expect to bake with their kids and 51% expect to decorate with them.).

Note on Methodology

Total sample size was 1,176 parents with children ages 6-17 years old. Fieldwork was undertaken between December 4, 2014 to December 10, 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US parents of children 6-17.

For further information about Omnibus results, and for details about methodology and Omnibus services, please email

Find the full results here .

Image courtesy of Press Association

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