Consumer Reports Names Hottest Holiday Gifts

62 percent of us plan to give a gift card this year – but 27 percent of those who got one last year still haven’t used it yet.

Better Investing

The most popular holiday gifts this year are clothes, followed by electronics, gift cards, toys and the ever-popular cash.

According to a new Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll, 68% of us plan to give clothes this year. At 62%, gift cards, electronics and toys tie for second most popular gift, with cash next at 58%.

“You can’t fault consumers for focusing on the fundamentals,” said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports senior editor and resident shopping expert. “Cash makes a great gift because people can buy something they really need or really want.”

More from the Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll of 2010:

Popular Electronics

  • Video games are the most popular electronics item this year with 39 percent of adults considering giving them as a gift. And in households with kids under 12, over half (59%) plan to do so.
  • Video game accessories are a hot commodity as well. Eighteen percent consider buying them. That’s not too surprising, taking into account the upcoming – and much-anticipated – Microsoft Kinect and Sony Move motion-sensitive controllers.
  • Video games aren’t for everyone. Other popular electronics that people plan on giving this year include MP3 players or iPods (18%), digital cameras (14%), digital photo frames (11%), and GPS devices (10%). Despite lower prices and new 3D technology, only 8 percent of people are planning on giving a TV as a gift.
  • Ten percent of Americans plan to give Wi-Fi-enabled e-book readers and tablet computers this year, up 6 percentage points from last year. Eight percent of adults are considering giving new technology – iPads and other tablet computers – as a gift.

While gift cards are one of the most popular gifts to give (62%), they’re not all that popular to receive. According to Consumer Reports, only 13% of consumers named them as “most wanted”.

Perhaps that’s related to the fact that one in four recipients who received a gift card last year has yet to use it, either because they haven’t had the time (51%) or forgot about it (41%)

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