Why Your Retail Business Needs Printed Gift Wrapping
February 26, 2016

Why Your Retail Business Needs Printed Gift Wrapping

Ah, wrapping paper. It seems there are two types of people in this world; there’s people who LOVE wrapping gifts, will meticulously choose a colour scheme for their wrapping materials and delight in the feeling that comes from effectively folded triangles and neat edges, and then there’s people who HATE gift wrapping. These people tend to just throw a pile of paper and sellotape at the item they’re wrapping and hope for the best.


We’ll tell you a secret – we’re the first kind! #WrappingNerds.


Whatever your attitude towards the tradition of wrapping up gifts, it’s inescapable in today’s world. Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries – any occasion you can think of usually calls for assembling the scissors, sellotape and tissue paper and getting stuck in.

But why are we so obsessed with wrapping our gifts? Where does the notion of gift wrapping even come from? Gift wrap is a big industry, with the US alone believed to spend around $2.6 billion on it annually.

Let’s get to the bottom of this exquisitely wrapped mystery…

Where did gift wrapping come from?

The idea of wrapping gifts actually goes back further than you might think, in both Eastern and Western cultures.

In Japan, the ‘furoshiki’ is a traditional cloth used to wrap everything from gifts to groceries, and still exists today – this dates back to the Edo period between 1600 and 1800. Going back even further is the Korean square wrapping cloth, the ‘bojagi’, which is thought to have been used as early as the first century AD.

In the UK, it was a custom for upper class Victorians to use elaborately decorated paper, ribbons and lace to wrap their gifts, exuding sophistication and wealth. In the early 20th century, tissue paper saw a rise in popularity, and stores started to wrap their products in practical manila paper to keep them safe and up their game with regards to customer service.

And, we’re guessing you’ve heard of a little company called Hallmark? Yes, the famous card company, with origins in Missouri, are often credited with being the first to really commercialise decorative wrapping paper. One holiday season, they ran out of their standard tissue paper and were forced to sell ‘fancy French paper’ in it’s place, which was normally used to line envelopes. The new paper was a huge success, and Hallmark soon began designing and producing its own wrapping paper collections.

Do we really care?

Yeah yeah, we’ve been wrapping stuff for centuries, blah blah blah. But is anyone actually bothered? Wouldn’t it save everyone a huge amount of time, sellotape and paper cuts if we all decided to just hand gifts over, unwrapped?

Back in 1992, professor of marketing Daniel Howard from the Southern Methodist University in Dallas decided to find out. His hypothesis was that a gift wrapped item influences the recipient of the gift to have a more favourable attitude towards owning and accepting the gift item. His study found that test subjects who received a wrapped gift gave it a higher overall approval rating (an average 7.14 out of 9) than those who received an unwrapped gift (who ranked theirs at an average of 6.06).

According to Dr Howard, “gift wrapping, through repeated pairing with joyous events in people’s lives, has utility in cuing a happy mood which, in turn, positively biases attitudes”. Essentially, because we tend to receive giftwrapped items at happy, positive occasions throughout the year, and as the concept of receiving a gift is inherently positive, we start to associate that happiness with the gifts themselves in their wrapped form, and that then propels the expectations for us to receive gifts that are wrapped.

What retailers can learn

It’s not just Hallmark that caught on to the positive impact that gift wrapping can have – a huge amount of online retailers now offer a gift wrapping service on purchases, as do a number of high street stores (beauty and cosmetics being a great example), who will add some extra special touches to your item as an additional service, particularly around Christmas time.

If you’re a retailer, adding a gift wrapping service to your proposition can have lasting positive effects on your brand in the eyes of your customers. It’s thought that just under two thirds of UK adults think that professional gift wrapping makes an item ‘extra special’, with both men and women appreciating the attention to detail associated with luxury packaging.

Young consumers in particular seem to be invested in the positives of gift wrapping, especially males aged between 18 and 24, who are more willing to pay for gift wrapping.

As you might expect, men are more likely to invest in professional gift wrapping for their wife or partner – but, interestingly, women prefer to pay for gift wrapping services when purchasing for their mum rather than their other half.

Whether selling online or in store, building printed gift wrapping into your customer experience is a great way of giving your brand an edge. It’s thought that introducing a gift wrapping service can lead to an increase in repeat orders, more word of mouth recommendations for your brand, and your company being more associated with investment in customer service – all of which can go a long way to helping you stand out from competitors.

Gift wrapped goods evoke a sense of more value for money, and who doesn’t want to give their customers that?

Get your printed gift wrapping sorted

Panicking about your lack of printed gift wrapping supplies? Fear not! We can help.

We now offer a great range of printed packaging that you can use to professionally wrap your products. There’s printed tissue paper, which is available in the full range of Pantone colours and great for repeated designs, or try out our printed packaging tape, exposing your customers to your brand before they’ve even opened their package!

Want to know more about gift wrapping supplies? Talk to us! Our lovely sales team is waiting to help you. Call 0191 268 7555, or email sales@theprintedbagshop.co.uk.