The Research Objective
Over the last year I have been engaged in an exciting research project to help myself and others that will learn from this research paper, to understand the art behind the gift giving process. My objectives at the start of the research were to answer the following questions:
What is more important to people receiving gifts; the gift itself or the giving of the gift?
How much of a factor does the presentation of a gift have on our overall appreciation of the gift?
Do we care about how environmentally friendly the packaging of our gift boxes are?
In order to answer the above questions, I employed a questionnaire to assess the opinions of my sample base. The questionnaire was designed to employ both qualitative and quantitative research methods to provide me with a broad mix of feedback that will enable me to answer my research objectives in the most detailed way possible.
The questionnaire was created online using Survey Monkey and was distributed to a sample of 450 recipients based off of my Facebook friends list. From these 450 recipients, I received 312 responses, giving me a response rate of 69.3%, a very admiral return that will allow me to present more reliable findings and reduce the effect of any anomalies within the dataset.
In order to gain a valid and reliable representation of the sample base used for this research, I included several profiling questions as the start of the questionnaire to ensure that I was collecting information from a variety of demographics and personality types. This objective was successfully achieved, as evidenced by a 58:42 ratio of male:female respondents, a representation of 5+ respondents in each of the traditionally used age groups, and an even mix of responses to the personality trait questions.
These personality based questions were designed to provide a mix of personality types along the introvert:extrovert scale. This was done to ensure that the results provided were a fair representation of not just demographics but also personalities. This is important to this research study as a lot of the findings heavily factor in a weighted involvement of personality decisions. For instance, "How much of a factor does the presentation of a gift have on our overall appreciation of the gift?" directly correlates with personality types. For example, a more selfish personality type is inherently likely to care more about the less selfless aspects of the gift giving process than someone who exhibits very selfless personality traits. The research study was a success in providing what we feel is a fair and even representation of different personality types within the sample that completed the questionnaire. Naturally however, no sample will ever be perfect, especially at the limited sample size that we had access to, relative to the size and scale of the study.
After the deadline for completion of the online survey had expired, the 312 completed questionnaires were exported and imported into Microsoft SPSS for statistical analysis to give us the base for answering our research objectives. One of the major advantages of completing the questionnaire online was that it was very unobtrusive to collect and organise the data. Instead, it was a simple case of exporting the responses straight from the spreadsheet created by SurveyMonkey into our software that we have used to conduct our statistical analysis.
Upon successful completion of the import, we utilised several analysis techniques to help provide us with relevant data to answer our research objectives. These included creating cross-tabulations tabs to allow us to investigate correlation between several factors. For instance, how demographics such as age and gender positively and/or negatively affect the afflictions directly relating to the research objectives that we are seeking to answer. Also included in the analysis were simpler tools such as tabulating the quantitative research questions from closed ended questions into charts and tables for readers to easily digest and interpret.
As a result of gathering the above data and manipulating it into easier to analyse statistical charts and graphs, we are able to present the following findings in the corresponding section below.
Our Research Results
In this section we will break down the findings of our statistical analysis relevant to the corresponding research objectives that each relevant part of the questionnaire that we administered was designed to capture data for.
"What is more important to people receiving gifts; the gift itself or the giving of the gift?"
Our research found, rather unsurprisingly so, that the gift itself was more important to over 80% of our respondents than the actual process of receiving the gift. This was a result that we somewhat expected to find in the results of our research. However, what was more interesting was the degree to which the receivers of gifts present in our sample base did actually care about the gift giving process. Our research found that 64% of respondents felt that any level of care and attention put into the gift giving process positively enhanced their enjoyment of the gift itself. This in turn directly corresponds to our ability to answer the following research question.
"How much of a factor does the presentation of a gift have on our overall appreciation of the gift?"
As we have just alluded to in relation to the preceding research question, the presentation of a gift is absolutely a significant factor in our overall appreciation of a gift. Some of the factors that respondents listed as being ways to improve the gift giving process in a way that leaves a significant impact upon their appreciation of the gesture included:
- Presenting the gift in special packaging which adds value to the perceived importance of the gift - the use of stylish gift boxes for instance
- Accessorising the packaging of the gift - the use of embellishments, ribbons, etc
- Adding visually personal touches to the packaging - for example the use of ribbons, etc that have clearly been handmade in their application to the gift box
- The location of the gift giving action - whether it be examples used such as presenting the gift while on a special day out, during a fancy dinner date or in a personally relevant intimate environment, all of these special locations had a large impact on the receiver's appreciation
What we can take from these findings are that whereas our previous research objective found the presentation of the gift is not deemed to be more important than the actual gift itself, paying close care and attention to the giving process can definitely significantly enhance the receivers appreciation of the gift. Therefore, there is no room for doubt left adding personal touches such as specially hand made gift boxes or giving the gift to a loved one in a intimate setting that has personal value to both you and the recipient will help to make the gift that bit more special to the person receiving it.
"Do we care about how environmentally friendly the packaging of our gift boxes are?"
Over the course of the last decade, the need to act more environmentally responsible has come to fruition in the spotlight of the attention of the world as a whole. No longer is ethically sourced materials a niche subject, it is now a mainstream awareness study. We thought that therefore it would be interesting to see if this increased awareness and apparent desire to act more environmentally friendly has been applied to the choices of gift packaging that we make.
Our research, maybe somewhat unexpectedly found that 72% of the sample that we surveyed thought that using ethically sourced gift boxes that were environmentally friendly were preferable over gift packaging that wasn't. Furthermore, 53% of the overall sample revealed that they actively seek out ethically sourced gift packaging over the alternative. This was arguably the most intriguing finding from our research study as it was not a finding that we were expecting to find when we made predictions at the start of the project relating to the expected findings that we were anticipating.
Conclusions From Our Study
The most important aspects of our findings can be summarised by the proceeding bullet points:
- Personal touches to the gift boxes that we present our gifts in can positively enhance the receiver's enjoyment and appreciation of the gift
- Choosing a special location, often away from the home that we live in, can positively enhance receiver's enjoyment and appreciation of the gift
- The need to act environmentally friendly is an activity that people are more self conscious of
- There is an apparent clear demand for ethically sourced gift packaging
Any further action relating to personal touches corresponding to the gift giving process is difficult, borderline impossible, for us to suggest, due to the very nature of personal touches inherently being personalised to each individual situation. In its most simplest form, the solution is to simply invest a little extra care and attention into the gift giving process from your end as the giver rather than the recipient.
With relation to the second part of our findings, there are more tangible further actions that we can provide relating to the desire for ethically sourced gift packaging. We have conducted a bit of extra research in a bid to find the best ethically sourced supplier of gift boxes. We did this by simply running a Google search for the term "gift boxes" and pulling the top 20 hits for relevant suppliers of gift packaging. In order to further validate the reliability of our research methods to find ethically sourced gift packaging suppliers, we ran another Google search for the term "best gift boxes" to ensure that the suppliers that we had found ourselves were predominantly featured in lists and reviews by industry influencers and specialists of the best suppliers. As a result of doing this, we dropped 3 suppliers who were never featured in any of the ten articles that we reviewed, and added 2 more suppliers who were predominantly featured across the bulk of these lists.
In doing this we found 2 suppliers of gift boxes that provide great stylish designs that also go above and beyond the call of duty to act environmentally responsibly in their sourcing of said packaging.
The first of which was a company called LOWTOBOX. Their commitments to ethical sourcing and acting environmentally responsible is clear from the moment that you enter their website. The downside however is that their collection of gift boxes is somewhat limited. They are a fantastic choice if you can find the gift packaging that you are looking for. However, many customers may find their shopping requirements struggling to match the ranges on offer.
Therefore, our suggested supplier of ethically sourced gift packaging is a company in the United Kingdom called TinyBox. Their range of gift boxes is both stylish, ethically sourced and unlike LOWTOBOX, exceedingly expansive. TinyBox offer customers a range of gift boxes that have been specifically designed for specific gifts such as photographs, jewellery, stationery and much much more.
Further Research Requirements
As is always the case, in order to further validate the findings of our research study on the gift giving process, a larger sample size of respondents is definitely required. However, due to the limitations of resources involved in this project such as time and budget restraints, we were not able to conduct this research study on a larger scale.
What would also be of value to develop deeper insight into would be the different ways that people are affected by personal touches to the presentation of a gift and to what degree. Furthermore, from a purely personal pondering point of view, it would also be extremely interesting to hear in more detail about some of the different methods that people utilise to add personal touches to their gift giving process and hear about the ways in which gift receivers have been touched by the extra care and attention being put into the art of the gift giving process.