Loop Commerce helped retailers offer better gifting options with digital GiftNow cards. Now, it's merging digital and physical with real cards for Gap's Athleta.

This holiday season, men’s apparel is a top gift item, according to data from Loop Commerce.

The digital gifting platform recently released its holiday data from GiftNow, the company’s online service for retailers and brands that streamlines gifting experiences for consumers. Its insights are based on GiftNow transactions from Black Friday through Dec. 9.

The company said its top three GiftNow categories for the 2017 holiday season were men’s apparel, women’s handbags and women’s apparel with 19 percent, 17 percent and 15 percent of all purchases within each category, respectively. Watches and women’s shoes were the fourth and fifth most popular gifts, with each category garnering approximately 5 percent of all purchases, the company said. More specifically, top purchases included men’s chinos, women’s outerwear, leather handbags, women’s leather boots and gold watches.

GiftNow eliminates the guesswork for online shoppers by instantly delivering gifts to recipients without having to determine the size, color, style or shipping address of the gift receiver. When shoppers opt for GiftNow at checkout, their gift is instantly sent to the recipient via e-mail; once the recipient virtually “opens” the gift, they are prompted to enter their mailing address. If the recipient dislikes the gift, they can modify or exchange it prior to shipment. Luxury brands such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue employ the service, as well as Target, Macy’s and Banana Republic.

Neiman Marcus

Neiman Marcus offers Loop Commerce’s GiftNow option on its website.  Tom Pennington/AP

Roy Erez, the chief executive officer and cofounder of Loop Commerce, said that “With consumers shopping online in record numbers this holiday season, it’s clear that they want to send more personalized gifts, which may once have been considered too ‘risky,’ particularly if the buyer wasn’t sure of the style choice, size, or shipping address.” Erez continued, “GiftNow is transforming the digital gifting experience for holiday shoppers, and influencing the kinds of products making their way to loved ones this year. It’s fewer coffee makers, fragrances and electronics, and more clothing, high-end accessories and shoes, which the gift receiver can now modify before they’re shipped to ensure the gift is perfectly suited to them,” Erez said.

Its gift buying data also found that men have embraced digital gifting: Men completed 46 percent of all GiftNow transactions, a notable increase from 38 percent the same time last year, the company said. And women were again the primary gift receivers, rounding out 65 percent of sales. Seventeen percent of shoppers browsed for gifts via mobile devices such as tablets, or mobile phones, at 56 percent. Although, in each case, shoppers completed purchases from their desktop. Overall, the data verifies that mobile shopping has grown since 2015.

Spending habits have also evolved, as both men and women spent less this year per gift compared to last year, at 12 percent less and 15 percent less, respectively. The firm said this may be due to GiftNow’s addition of discount, department store and specialty shops to its portfolio, which in the past primarily consisted of luxury brands.

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