Dr. George Newman: December 23, 2019

NEW HOLIDAY STUDY REVEALS WHICH GIFTS MEAN THE MOST

FROM NATURAL DIAMONDS TO ONE-OF-A-KIND OBJECTS AND BRANDS, CONSUMER DEMAND FOR ‘AUTHENTICITY’ IS MORE THAN A TREND

Dr. George Newman

Associate Professor of Marketing and Management at the Yale School of Management

 

As people begin shopping for their loved ones this holiday season, a new study reveals authentic gifts bring the greatest joy and are valued the highest. The legitimacy of a gift is often judged by examining its history and stems from an absence of human interference. The research complements previous authenticity studies that demonstrate that the brain responds differently to authentic versus inauthentic paintings. There is a psychology behind which holiday gifts mean the most and why, providing proof for people’s affinity for the authentic. 

 

KEY FINDINGS FROM THE STUDY INCLUDE:

  • Authenticity is appreciated by all ages: This was true for consumers, grouped by ages that spanned from 18-80.
  • Consumers most appreciated specific authentic items: Of the 8 categories studied, frequently cited in consumer gift studies, the top gifts consumers appreciated were:
    • An authentic branded product—such as a North Face jacket (93%) or an Apple Watch (86%),
    • A natural diamond ring (86%), or
    • A product made with authentic quality materials, such as a cashmere sweater (88%).
  • Inauthentic products are disappointing: Some of the items people were most disappointed in receiving included lab-grown diamonds (31%) and knockoff Nike sneakers (36%).
  • People would rather receive something else entirely, instead of a knockoff or fake: In place of a cashmere sweater, people would rather receive a wool sweater as a gift than a sweater with synthetic composition mimicking cashmere.

 

A gift can be authentic in several ways ranging from how it’s made, and the materials used to its naturalness and the emotions behind it. On Wednesday, December 11th, Dr. George Newman, associate professor of marketing and management at the Yale School of Management, is available to talk about the study and how it’s not just a trend that authentic products bring people joy.

 

MORE ABOUT DR. GEORGE NEWMAN

George Newman is an associate professor of marketing and management at the Yale School of Management. He also holds affiliated appointments in the department of psychology and the department of cognitive science at Yale University. He is an expert in consumer behavior and consumer decision-making. His recent work focuses on questions related to the concepts of authenticity, identity, and the self. He has published more than 50 articles in leading scholarly journals, and his research has been featured in popular media outlets such as The New York Times, Scientific American, the Wall Street Journal, and the Economist. He has led seminars on various marketing and management topics for senior executives in North America and Asia.

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