Here at Lab42, it goes without saying that we do everything possible to be “in the know.”What’s trending, who’s tweeting, what’s moving-and-shaking… it’s our job to have a pulse on the market place.

So when we come across great data that’s fresh and relevant, we’d be remised not to share!

Last week, while reading through this beautiful infographic by Savvy Auntie®, I was intrigued and engaged for reasons both personally and professionally. As a soon-to-be first time Aunt, I find myself counting down the minutes to be an official “PANK”* (Professional Aunt No Kids).

Coined by Melanie Notkin, CEO of SavvyAuntie.com Inc., this great term represents 1 in 5 women. Whether they are literally aunts, godparents or friends of the family, PANKs are a force to be reckoned with and paid attention to – especially during the holiday shopping season. This year, Ms. Notkin worked with Weber Shandwick, a global public relations firm, and KRC Research on a report called “The Power of the PANK: Engaging New Digital Influencers.” Within the report, they found that there are about 23 million women in the United States who are potentially in that category and spend an average of $387 a year on each child in their lives. But the vast majority, 76 percent, spends more than $500 a year… now that’s some spending power!

But gifts are just one relatively nominal part of the equation. PANKs serve a vital role in the family place. Notkin weighs in on this pivotal responsibility: “While parents are stretched to their limits, PANKs are able – and happy – to offer support to the children in their lives in meaningful ways. They may be secondary caregivers, but with their emotional, financial and material gifts – not to mention their quality time and positive influence – PANKs play a primary role in the vitality of the American Family Village.”

They can also be that “cool aunt” who exposes a child to cultural experiences or a trusted adult that a child can talk to about sensitive topics he/she wouldn’t dare discuss with their parents.

While discussing this blog topic in a team meeting, our co-founder (Jonathan Pirc) smirkingly said, “So does this make me a PUNK?” Well, the verdict remains out on that front, but while we deliberate, we wanted to be sure to share this wonderful piece of research for your reading pleasure.

Given the absolutely tragic events that occurred last week at Sandy Hook elementary, we wish to extend our sincere condolences to the families and loved ones impacted. Whether you are a mother, a father, a grandparent, a teacher, a PANK or a “Puncle”, we hope you all take a little extra time this holiday season to hug your loved ones a little tighter as we are all reminded what a blessing it is to have each other, be it near or far.

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