Focusing too much on the gift recipient can finally lead to giving the gift we were trying to avoid in the first place, research shows. When it comes to shopping for gifts, we try to select things which we think people want and need both. (Agencies)
The researchers predict that in a gift-giving situation, both the gift givers and gift receivers would focus on the gift receivers when thinking about the gift.
"Givers would choose gifts that are more desirable over gifts that are more practical, whereas receivers would give greater weight to the gift's practicality," said Ernest Baskin from Yale University.
In a series of experiments, the researchers measured the trade-offs between desirability and practicality in gift giver and gift receiver preferences. Consider the gift giver who knows the gift receiver loves Italian food.
He now has to choose between a well-rated restaurant that is an hour away versus a medium-rated restaurant that is five minutes away. The research shows that the gift giver leans towards the fancier restaurant while the gift receiver would prefer to go to the restaurant that is closer to house.
"We show that givers think fancier gifts would cause them to be more liked and would make their friends happier, but receivers actually think practical gifts would bring these feelings easily," added Cheryl J. Wakslak from University of Southern California.
Brands selling products that are often given as gifts can help consumers focus on how they would use a product, even if they are buying the product as a gift for someone else.
In doing so, the practicality of the gift becomes apparent to the consumer, noted co-author Yaacov Trope from New York University in a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
Focusing too much on the gift recipient can finally lead to giving the gift we were trying to avoid in the first place, research shows. When it comes to shopping for gifts, we try to select things which we think people want and need both.