New market research suggests that roughly 25 percent of us are at the top of our own holiday shopping list
This year, self-gifting has hit an all-time high. Shoppers are rushing to sales racks and frantically loading up on everything from tablets to trendy sneakers for that very special someone known as Me.
According to the Wall Street Journal, market research company NPD has discovered that the trend is a prime driver of holiday shopping growth this year. Before the recession, the firm found that around 12 percent of shoppers said they’d purchased items for themselves during the holidays. Last year the figure was up to 19 percent for surveys that went out before Christmas. And the post-Christmas surveys showed that 26 percent of respondents had made holiday purchases for Numero Uno. This year, the figure is already up to a whopping 32 percent.
The National Retail Federation has also predicted a big jump in self-gifting. In fact, it found that 59 percent of holiday shoppers plan to spend an average of $139.92 on items not meant to be shared. Young adults, especially, have hit upon a handy formula for shopping during the season of giving: “one for you, two for me.” Promotions on electronic items and clothing have worked particularly well with this age group, even given the fact that young people typically have less to spend: 71.5 percent of Millennials who caught the big Black Friday sales got a little something for themselves.
What is going on? Are we becoming more self-oriented? Maybe not. NPD posits that the self-gifting trend could be more about hard economic times. The idea is that the trend has increased as retailers address the crappy economy by vigorously promoting Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other discount opportunities. So consumers have learned to wait to buy that new TV until the holidays roll around. Taking advantage of special deals may be more a sign of economic prudence than narcissistic extravagance.
There’s also a pervasive feeling that, damnit, we deserve it. Americans are horribly overworked compared to other nations. In the U.S., 85.8 percent of males and 66.5 percent of females work more than 40 hours per week. That’s even more than the notoriously nose-to-the-grindstone Japanese. In every industrialized country except Canada, Japan and the U.S., workers get at least 20 paid vacation days. Guess what they get in France and Finland? 30 days. A whole month off. Paid.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the productivity of American workers has jumped 400 percent since 1950. We should be working fewer hours, but we most assuredly aren’t. We’re working more. And most of us are not profiting from it, either. Americans who get paltry vacations and face stagnant wages can hardly be blamed for wanting to do something for themselves when the holidays come around. And there’s a big advantage to self-gifting: you’ll get something you really want.
Lynn Parramore is an AlterNet contributing editor. She is co-founder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of "Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture." Follow her on Twitter @LynnParramore. More Lynn Parramore.
More Related Stories
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Kaitlyn Hunt refuses plea offer, will go to court over high school relationship
- The secrets of cicada survival
- Nobody "needs" to rape
- Catholic Church in market for more exorcists
- Report: Nearly a quarter of all Americans struggle to afford food
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Boy Scouts to members: Just don't be a gay adult
- Anonymous rallies behind Kaitlyn Hunt
- Mistrial in penalty phase of Arias case
- My text blew up in my face
- Boy Scouts end ban on openly gay boys
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- Billionaire hedge funder: Babies, breast-feeding "kill" focus, keep women from succeeding
- "Bookless library" set to open in Texas
- Man arrested for sending Craigslist sex party to neighbor's house
- Greek yogurt, toxic waste hazard?
- Glenn Beck: CNN interview with atheist tornado survivor was a setup!
- Incoming BBC news director on journalism gender gap: "We can do better"
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11
Salon is proud to feature content from AlterNet, an award-winning news magazine and online community that creates original journalism and amplifies the best of hundreds of other independent media sources.