Last Minute Gift Shopping by Gender of Spouse

A timely chart from Christopher Ingraham at Wonkblog. Christopher concludes that compared to wives, husbands wait till the last minute to gift shop for their spouse. A plausible interpretation, although do note that it’s not the case that women are searching earlier just less.

xmas giving


Guilty. Women tend to get things early with the same urgency as men need to apply in getting them done "just in time."

My 2 theories:

1. Husbands are far less attentive to what their wives want than vice versa

2. Husbands are far easier to please than wives - he wants a toy for whatever his hobby is; she wants a thoughtful gift that shows that he cares (or expensive jewelry that he can't afford)

The graph doesn't even show that women search less, just that they rely less on the lame, generic search term "gift for [spouse]." If it's the thought that counts in gift-giving, maybe this shows that women have the edge over men.

Except the situation is more or less reversed, on a percentage basis, close to Valentine's Day...

But the relationship only breaks apart starting in November. Why would they rely the same amount on the generic term all throughout the year then suddenly become more thoughtful? Don't think that theory works (applies to CG's theories as well).

It is better than the original article's abysmal theory though. As Tyler points out, if that chart was showing women to be so much more caring and less lazy, then we would see a spike for women in October / November way above that of men, then lower in December. This is completely unsupported, and extremely sloppy by Christopher Ingraham to suggest it does.

You need a theory that explains either: why husbands give far more gifts to wives than wives do to husbands OR why husbands are far more likely to rely on Google for shopping tips *but only during the Christmas season*

I'm personally baffled.

Baffled? Look for the easy answer, google searches arent very good data and any conclusions drawn from them are more or less the equivalent of a horoscope.

What confuses me most is the spike in "gift for husband" around Valentine's Day. I'm pretty sure he doesn't care.

Maybe they left off the phrase "gift for mistress" as a search term. /ducks

Men giving gifts to women at Valentines are pretty much - chocolates, flowers, lingerie, jewellery. There no set gifts for women to give men.
At Christmas, there are no set gifts for either sex but if asked men tend to say - socks, underpants, hankies.

The "gift for wife" search might not be from a male anyway - it could be his secretary.

Or his mistress.

Any economist would tell you

After reading this graph

That there are

Twice as many wives as there are husbands.

I'm guilty too. My wife is pretty much only interested in clothes, and she goes out shopping for clothes all the time anyway. So I'm baffled as to what to give her this season.

I woke up one day in my late 30s and the English language had changed! Now everyone uses "gender" where the right word, for centuries, was "sex." For a while I thought it was just a term of left-wing political correctness, but now even Alex is doing it. What happened? I really want to know. I'm baffled.

This is one of the perks of being single and not having to worry about finding the perfect gift for your significant other. Another perk is taking advantage of the elasticity of demand during the moments after frantic last minute shopping. I can't think of another time in the year where I can get chocolate and flowers for 50 percent off. I definitely know when not to spend though. The day before said the holidays, knowing that price insensitive spouses are feverishly on the prowl for a decent gift so they won't get chastised. Truly, one of the best examples of price discrimination.

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