TO FIND THOUGHTFUL high-quality gifts, consumers needed look no further than the nearest supermarket this year. Nonfood gift options gained wide acceptance.
A number of drivers, including convenience, the need to differentiate luxurious and eco-friendly product introductions, and most notably the popularity of gift cards, solidified the supermarket nonfood section as a gift-giving destination.
Perhaps the strongest example is Kroger's decision to partner with gift card provider Blackhawk Networks, a subsidiary of competitor Safeway, last month. Blackhawk is now providing the Gift Card Mall in Kroger's 2,491 locations in 31 states.
Back in August, Safeway itself doubled the amount of display space for prepaid gift cards in more than 1,000 stores.
Based on reports from Mercator Advisory Group, Waltham, Mass., Blackhawk Network projected gift card market sales will reach $90 billion by 2010.
With these kinds of figures in mind, retailers are cross-merchandising gift cards with other nonfood gift items like electronic accessories.
Other popular items this year included health and wellness books, natural HBC and alternative candles made from soy, beeswax, vegetable wax or blends.