Travel, jewelry top survey’s list of gifts for women

Travel, historically a top competitor for jewelry customers’ dollars, is showing a rebound as a worthy contender.

After September 11, 2001, consumers’ desire to travel plummeted, but an online survey conducted in September 2003 shows the most-desired holiday gift for women this season is one that allows them to “escape,” while jewelry came in a close second. The online study, titled “Women, Men and the Pursuit of Fun,” was conducted by frank about women, a consulting firm specializing in marketing to women. It was reported on About Retail.com, a retail industry web site.

Twenty-seven percent of female respondents selected travel—whether it’s a vacation, a cruise, or just a day at the local spa—as their most preferred gift, and of those, more than two-thirds indicated they want it badly enough that they’re willing to pay for it themselves. Jewelry was the second most-desired item, with 23% of respondents selecting it as their most preferred gift. The third most-preferred gift for women, with 11% of female respondents selecting it, was electronics. Men, on the other hand, listed electronics as their top gift choice, wishing for, in descending order, a flat-screen television, a new computer, or a digital camera.

“The fact that two-thirds of women said they are willing to buy their own vacation or spa package indicates that they are feeling the stress of balancing very full lives, an uncertain economy, and the demands of families, careers, and other obligations,” said Carrie McCament, managing director of frank about women. Men, however, desire items that are used in the home, indicating they don’t feel the same need to escape, she said.

At the bottom of everyone’s list, she said, were items that help make people more productive or fit more into their day.

The online survey was conducted during the week of September 2, garnering a total of 1052 respondents – 575 women and 477 men, reflecting a nationally representative sample of American adults. The margin of error was plus or minus three percentage points.