Commentary

Gift Cards For The Person With Everything

Gift Cards For The Person With Everything

According to the findings of the inaugural NRF Gift Card Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, 69.9 percent of consumers plan to buy gift cards this holiday, spending an average of $34.24 per card.

"Gift cards are a great selection for the person who has everything," said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. "They are more convenient than the gift certificates of years' past and they're no longer considered the 'lazy man's gift'-people love to get them." In fact, nearly 50 percent of consumers in an earlier NRF holiday survey said they would like to receive gift cards this year, up from 41.3 percent last year.

The study also found that:

  • Consumers plan to spend $17.24 billion on gift cards this holiday, which would account for nearly 8 percent of all holiday sales.
  • The average person purchasing a gift card will be purchasing more than three card (3.34), spending a total of $114.44.
  • Older consumers are spearheading gift card growth. Consumers over age 65 plan to buy 3.90 cards, on average, spending $130.62. Consumers 55-64 will purchase an average of 3.61 cards, spending $134.80.
  • Men plan to spend $120.57 each on gift cards while women plan to spend $109.23.

Gift card facts:

  • Some of the $17.24 billion spent on gift cards this holiday may not show up in "holiday" sales, but instead as sales in January or February, when the gift card is redeemed.
  • When a consumer spends $25 from a $50 gift card, the card automatically updates the balance. This is more efficient than the retailer reissuing another gift certificate to the consumer for the balance.
  • Retailers have different policies for gift cards. Some stores' gift cards expire over a certain period of time (usually 12 months or more) and some stores' cards depreciate month-by-month if a card has been inactive for a certain period of time.
  • Due to improved technology, some retailers are able to reissue a lost gift card if consumers have kept the original purchase receipt.
  • Another convenience factor is that many stores are able to carry gift cards at their check-out counters because today's gift cards are not active until scanned.
  • Many retailers like grocery stores carry a variety of different gift cards at their registers-for movie theaters, coffee shops, and clothing stores.

NRF continues to forecast that holiday sales will increase 5.7 percent this year to $217.4 billion, which would be the largest increase since 1999.

Find out more here.

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