Last winter, Roonga managed over 5,000 holiday wishlists through our online Adopt-a-Family platform. These wishlists included specific gift requests for children, teens, and adults from families in need. We decided to analyze this data to understand the most frequently requested holiday gifts by age group. As you plan your holiday programs, we hope this information helps you make more effective decisions about your holiday drives and purchases.
Overall, the most commonly requested items were clothes, gift cards, shoes and blankets. The clothing requests were a wide range (tops, pants, winter wear – with an emphasis on coats and jackets). As you would expect, toys were frequently requested in the youngest age groups, but as you go older, gift cards took over.
Below you’ll find more detailed breakdowns of requests by age, with specific characteristics called out for that group.
Infants & Toddlers
Many nonprofits have a shortage of gifts for infants every year. Below are ideas for specific product areas to focus on, as requested by the parents themselves:
|Under 1 Year||1-3 Years Old|
Clothing covered a wide range from every day wear to warm winter wear, and a huge percent of requests were not specific (e.g., “winter clothing”). Analyzing specific requests, the under one year group requested shirts, pants, sleepers, jackets and socks, at about the same rate. For the toddlers aged 1-3, the more frequent request was for “winter clothes” generally, followed by requests for shirts and pants.
The largest percentage of toys by far for both infants and toddlers were “educational,” which included items from Leap Frog and Vtech, and general terms like “educational,” “learning,” and “developmental” toys. Other requested items include activity gyms/mats, musical toys, and stuffed animals. For the 1-3 age group, other requested items include Paw Patrol and Lego products.
The 4-7 age group is the most popular for donors! As you move to the 8-12 year olds, the toys drop off in popularity, and they can become harder to shop for.
|4-7 Years Old||8-12 Years Old|
Practical items like clothes and shoes appeared most frequently. As with other groups, “winter clothing” dominated the clothing category, which includes general requests for winter wear as well as jackets, coats, and sweaters.
In the toys category, educational toys dropped off significantly in popularity compared to the younger age group. For the 4-7 year olds, Legos were most popular, followed by Barbies, arts & crafts kits, and then educational toys. For the 8-12 year olds, arts and crafts and Legos were most popular, followed by smattering of other items such as Barbie and LOL toys.
Teens & Young Adults
Teens are some of the most difficult to shop for! Many nonprofits we work with specifically target this age group for their online donation drives.
|13-18 Years Old||19-24 Years Old|
Some of the key characteristics of this group were:
- Gift cards surged to the top of the most frequently requested items, with clothing close behind. The most popular gift cards were Target, Amazon and Wal-Mart. In the 13-18 teens group, there was a large variety of gift cards requested, such as Forever 21, Gamestop, iTunes, Sephora, and many many more. The 19-24 year old requestes were heavily concentrated on Target and Wal-Mart.
- Similar to the younger age group, clothing was popular. The general request for “winter clothes” dominated the clothing category – but pants and shirts came up frequently for both these age groups.
- Electronics were a popular category for both teens and young adults, with heaphones toppping the list.
- Beauty products and sports equipment were far more popular among 13-18 teens compared to the 19-24 year olds.
|25-64 Years Old||>64 Years Old|
|Pots and Pans||8%||12%|
Gift cards remained at the top of the most frequently requested items list for adults. For the 25-64 age group, Target was the most popular gift card, followed by Wal-Mart, then generic “grocery” cards in third. In the seniors group, requests for generic “grocery cards” were the most requested card, followed by gas cards. Target, Walmart, and Safeway were specifically requested at much smaller percentages.
Clothing was similar to other age groups, where the generic “winter clothes” requests popped up most frequently. Shirts were the most popular single item for adults 25-64 outside the winter clothing category.
For the seniors, the majority of the remaining items requested were a wide range of household items like coffee makers, electric shavers, humidiers, crock pots, microwaves, and vacuum cleaners. The only large sub-group that we identified were the pots and pans, with the rest being a smattering of all other household items.
Gearing Up for the Holidays
As you start planning for your holiday program, we hope this data will help you make more informed decisions about what to purchase and request. Need some ideas to get your creative juices going? We’ve compiled a list of resources to help research this year’s holiday trends:
- Toy Trends of 2019 from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/richardkestenbaum/2019/03/03/toy-trends-toy-fair-mattel-hasbro-disney-play/#bd439bc2ad2a
- Hottest Toys: https://www.thespruce.com/must-have-holiday-toys-4150709
- Gift ideas for teens: https://www.imbringingbloggingback.com/lifestyle/best-gifts-for-teenagers-tween-girls-boys/
If you have any thoughts or questions about our post, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org! Happy shopping!
8/28 Update: The Teens and Young Adults section was updated to add additional product categories.