NPD Group names Top 10 holiday gifts

Consumers are looking to give small appliances, home textiles and housewares as holiday presents again this year, but their budgets have stretched to include premium products and luxury brands, according to The NPD Group, a market research firm.

“The appeal of the deal is as strong as ever,” said Debra Mednick, who heads NPD’s home division. “The difference coming into the 2012 holiday season is that, despite a still struggling economy, Black Friday ads are showcasing as much of a focus on the $300 vacuum as on the $10 slow cooker. Many of the categories we will see as the winners of the 2012 season are the same as what we’ve seen in recent years, but the average price spent will be greater.”

Consumers are also seeking “long-term value or a little luxury,” Mednick said. As a reminder, she added: “After all, less than one-third of home product purchases at holiday time are purchased as a gift.”

Listed below are The NPD Group’s Top 10 picks for the 2012 holiday gift season:

• Single-Serve Brewing Systems – One of the hottest trends in kitchen electrics, this category remains energized and perky with new ideas and designs.

• Specialty Kitchen Electrics – Popcorn makers and novelty baking appliances are inexpensive ways to have fun with something a little out of the ordinary right at home.

• Home Soda Makers – Customization, convenience and cost-savings all in one.

• Slow Cookers – Convenience, a connotation of comfort food, entertaining versatility with multiple unit configurations for meals and/or dips, and portability all make this an attractive item for the holiday shopping list.

• Fine Barware – A refined nod to a seemingly simpler time, aided by Mad Men on TV, and ice cubes made of stone to cool your spirits, this is a versatile gift suitable for either gender, and just about any beverage.

• Men’s Facial Trimmers – If you haven’t yet noticed, more men are sporting facial hair, including a variety of mustache looks.

• Blankets & Comfort Bedding – Whether the focus is on making holiday guests comfortable, staying warm at home or finding a gift for the person who has everything. After all, who doesn’t like a cozy blanket or something to make their mattress feel a little more luxurious?

• Extreme and Versatile Blenders and Food Processors – These products are now more likely to be hybrids, delivering more versatility than ever before. Most popular today are the small, but powerful blender/mixer/chopper systems and the high-end super-power pulverizing machines, some of which claim to ‘cook’ soup.

• Cookware Sets – ‘Tis the season for cooking. Celebrity-licensed selections and premium brands are most popularly featured.

• Premium Vacuums – More likely a gift for themselves, consumers will take advantage of deeper promotions on something that is more affordable than a cleaning service. And, as we all know, Americans become more obsessed with taking care of their homes during the holiday season.

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