Making Personal Connections through Gifting

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused massive upheavals in consumer spending. As people change the way they gift and spend, our State of Gifting report gives you a look into the changing patterns of consumers during these turbulent times.

Creating meaningful exchanges while apart in 2020

In our last report, “State of Gifting 2020,” we talked about the sharp rise in online gifting this year and the impact it has had on holiday shopping.

In this report, we explore in more detail how holiday gifting has changed as many of us cannot celebrate the holidays with traditional gatherings of family and friends. A deep dive into the data reveals shifts in how people are expressing their most heartfelt sentiments this year. According to the numbers, these unusual times have provided inspiration for more thoughtful and personal gifts.

Home for the Holidays

In 2020, social distancing and concerns about cross-country travel have many people opting out of traditional family gatherings. With fewer in-person visits this holiday season, gift givers are expressing their love by mailing gifts. The lack of physical get-togethers has meant larger online orders this year. And, as we saw in the last report, they’re sending gifts to more people.

Larger orders and higher online spending have gifts racking up the frequent flyer miles in 2020, with holiday care packages traveling far and wide.

Since 2019…

In-person travel may be on the decline, but holiday gifts are making up the difference…


Thanksgiving air travel fell over 40% *


Gifts have traveled about 125% more miles **

*Source: TSA
**Gifts purchased across our brands

With travel plans on hold across the country, holiday celebrations and gift-giving rituals look much different than they did just a year ago. And with it harder than ever to share the season in person, finding thoughtful, outside-the-box ways to express yourself through giving provides a great way to stay connected with loved ones while spreading much-needed holiday cheer.

How We Feel

People are replacing the traditional “Merry Christmas” with “We are so sorry we can’t be together this year.” Using data from across all our brands, we analyzed the messages from over 42 million gifts to uncover some of the unique sentiments expressed during the pandemic. Besides saying how much they missed spending the holidays together, many gift-givers expressed hope for a return to normalcy in 2021.

In 2020

Most messages acknowledge the fact that this year, people won’t be spending the holidays together.


In messages that talk about being “together again” next year


In messages saying the sender “can’t wait” to see the recipient*

*Searched keywords include: “next year,” “better,” “together again” and “can’t wait.”

Gift givers are taking extra care this year to tell their loved ones how much they’re loved and missed. Expressions of hope are important when we find ourselves in challenging times and personalizing a message can add that extra touch when an in-person hug is not possible.

Gifts get more personal

Gift-giving is a hallmark of the holiday season. In 2020, one trend that we have seen is that people are choosing to customize and personalize the gifts they buy to add an extra personal touch as many are not able to be together in person. We saw a significant increase in the number of people who customized a gift through Personalization Mall and our other brands.

The elves are busy…

Personalized gifts offer a personal touch in a year when we are apart.


Personalized orders overall produced in one day *


Cheryl’s Cookies cookie decorating kits sold out two times faster in 2020 than 2019

*Our most personalized orders ever

If ever there was a year to personalize a gift, this is it. People want to create meaningful, treasured experiences when they can’t be together in person. We help people connect, express, and celebrate all year round, and this holiday season is no exception.

All data unless otherwise noted is from the 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. family of brands.


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