Show Them the Money: 2019 Top Holiday Gifting Trends by Zelle®

Show Them the Money: 2019 Top Holiday Gifting Trends by Zelle®

Scottsdale, AZ

Early Warning Services, LLC, the network operator behind the Zelle payments network®, today released the results of its 2019 Holiday Survey. The survey details gift-giving desires and trends this season. At the top of the list for 2019 are group gifting and gifting money.

“No matter what you celebrate during the holiday season, you’ve probably noticed that holidays - and the gifting traditions around them - are changing and evolving,” said Elaine Swann, etiquette expert and founder of the Swann School of Protocol. “Gifting etiquette is changing too, making group gifts and the gift of money for experiences or personal spending not only acceptable, but preferable, for many digitally-savvy friend and family groups.”

This Year, Group Gifting With Zelle® Is The Way To Go

According to the latest Zelle® data, family and friends are most likely to come together and gift memorable experiences and opportunities this holiday season - over four out of five consumers (81%) have split the cost of a gift with someone else. Women are slightly more likely to split the cost of a gift, with 83% having done so previously; men are closely behind with 78% percent having split the cost of a gift for a friend or loved one.

Splitting the cost of a gift can help consumers stick to their budgets this season, alleviating the emotional and financial stress the holidays can place on consumers. The survey found 43% of consumers named not having enough money to afford gifts their top holiday money concern. This anxiety appears to be heightened with women, as 50% named not having enough money to afford gifts their #1 concern. An easy solution to alleviate those holiday financial concerns: get a group together, agree on a budget, and send money with Zelle® to a designated “team captain” who will help coordinate the group gift.

If you’re thinking about giving a gift as a group, but you’re under the wire, don’t worry, digital person-to-person (P2P) payments can help! Nearly 3 in 4 people (72%) would use a P2P service, such as Zelle®, to send money if they were late with a gift, and the majority (61%) of consumers would use a P2P service, such as Zelle®, to send money as a gift to a family member.

Are Physical Gifts Out for 2019? Here’s What Generations Want

Group gifts are on the rise, but if you’re giving a gift solo, keep one other major trend in mind: many people prefer the gift of money. In this year’s survey, 65% of individuals stated they prefer the gift of money to pay for experiences, bills, or personal spending.

“For the second year in a row, our annual Holiday Survey found that people not only desire money as a gift, but are increasingly preferring it beyond physical gifts,” said Ravi Loganathan, Chief Data Officer at Early Warning Services, LLC, the network operator behind Zelle®. “While traditionally asking for money as a gift may have been frowned upon, today’s digital natives have a new understanding of what it means to give and receive gifts during the holidays.”

Across all generations, money for personal spending is the #1 gift when ranked against tangible gifts, experiences, and money for bills or experiences: 35% of all respondents put receiving money for personal spending as the gift they’d rather receive this holiday season, followed by the gift of an experience (22%), money for an experience (17%) and money for bills (13%).

If you’re trading gifts this holiday season, keep generations in mind. Gen Z is most likely to appreciate money as a gift, with 66% of respondents stating they prefer it because it allows them to spend on whatever they want or need.

“It is absolutely acceptable and well within the guidelines of proper etiquette to give money as a holiday gift,” added Swann. “I recommend you send the money with Zelle® instead of giving cash or a check that could be misplaced or lost. After all, giving money is the one gift that is guaranteed to be used, and you can add a note to the recipient on how you intend for them to use your monetary gift.”

Zelle® makes it fast, safe and easy for friends and family to share the cost of giving amazing gifts and experiences this holiday season, right from your banking app1.


Early Warning’s Market Monitor provides continuing measurement of consumers’ interactions with, and usage of, payment solutions and related emerging technologies across the broad digital landscape. A ten-minute self-contained digital survey instrument was administered to a representative sample of U.S. online consumers in October 2019. Participants were ages 18 – 72 with a high school degree or higher, who own a smartphone and a checking and/or savings account. They include employed individuals, homemakers, students and retirees.

About Zelle®

Brought to you by Early Warning Services, LLC, an innovator in payment and risk management solutions, Zelle® makes it fast, safe and easy for money to move. The Zelle Network® connects financial institutions of all sizes, enabling consumers and businesses to send fast digital payments to people they know and trust with a bank account in the U.S. Funds are available directly in bank accounts generally within minutes when the recipient is already enrolled with Zelle®. To learn more about Zelle® and its participating financial institutions, visit

About Early Warning Services, LLC

Early Warning Services, LLC is a fintech company owned by seven of the country’s largest banks. For almost three decades, our identity, authentication and payment solutions have empowered financial institutions to make confident decisions, enable payments and mitigate fraud. Today, Early Warning is best known as the owner and operator of the Zelle Network®, a financial services network focused on transforming payment experiences. The combination of Early Warning’s risk and payment solutions enable the financial services industry to move money fast, safe and easy, so people can live their best financial lives. To learn more about Early Warning, visit