Is it better to give than to receive? Exploring gender differences in the meaning of memorable gifts
Research on gift-exchange behavior has generally found that women are more concerned and involved with giving gifts than are men. Moreover, the consumer behavior literature has focused almost exclusively on gift-giving behavior, offering few insights regarding gift-receiving roles. As an initial step toward understanding gift receiving, 89 men and 85 women from the United States (n = 124) and Europe n = 50) completed written narratives regarding their most memorable gift experiences. An interpretive analysis of the texts uncovered several themes associated with giving and/or receiving gifts, and correspondence analyses generated distinct gift-receiving and gift-giving profiles for men and women. Surprisingly, given the more prominent role of women in gift giving, four of the five female profiles involved memories of receiving rather than giving gifts. It was the men that tended to report gift-giving experiences; two of the three male profiles that emerged involved giving gifts. The texts then were reexamined and further interpreted to acquire a deeper understanding of each profile and how giving and receiving profiles of both men and women might be related to one another.