History and Trends in the Personalized Gifts Marketplace

Personalized gifts, as defined in the current retail marketplace, are items that give consumers an opportunity to add their own custom touch. These items can include anything from fine jewelry and keepsakes, to home decor and collectibles. Usually personalization is in the form of an etching or engraving applied to the purchased item, from information provided by the customer. Personalization can also be defined by the selection of specific birthstones or the incorporation of a customer’s photo into the design of the gift.

Though the idea of personalized gift giving has a relatively short history in the retail industry, the trend initially emerged as a way to raise the standard on traditional DIY gift creating and gift giving. The main idea behind the inception of the personalized gift was to transfer the thoughtfulness and personal nature of something hand-made, into high-quality, handcrafted choices at the broadest retail level.

In the beginning, this initiative by retailers was mostly found in the form of greeting cards, stationery and other paper-based items, due to technology and production limitations. However, over time, consumer demand, innovation and technological advancement began to propel the expansion of personalization service into other gift areas.

This expansion also caused a decrease in production costs, and consequentially, the cost to consumers. While personalization had originally been considered a fairly specialized service, with long production lead times and high prices built in, new advancements allowed quicker production times and made personalized gifts much more affordable.

Today, personalized gifts make up a significant portion of the retail marketplace, particularly during holiday seasons. And because of the level of involvement between retailers and consumers during the shopping experience and personalization transaction, the allure of these kinds of gifts is stronger. Customers want to be able to create gifts as meaningful and thoughtful as the ones they created from their family and loved ones back in grade school. Now, thanks to the evolution of personalization by retailers like The Bradford Exchange, they can.

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