Gift Card Spending To Go Mobile, Set New Record

bestbuygiftcardThe world's most practical, versatile and least-thought-required presents are becoming even more popular: A new survey from the National Retail Federation predicts that eight in 10 shoppers will buy at least one gift card this holiday season, with an increasing number purchased via mobile phone.

The report, conducted for the NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics, says that average spending on gift cards will be $163.16 -- up 4% from last year, totaling $29.8 billion. The NRF says that's the highest in the 11-year-old annual survey.

And that total only includes what consumers pay for gift cards, says a spokesperson for the NRF. Those gift cards supplied as incentives by retailers, such as Best Buy's offering $100 gift cards on iPad trade-ins or those obtained from Walmart's “Gadgets to Gift Cards” trade-in program, are likely to be re-gifted as well, adding to the gift card bonanza.



While many of the purchases are likely to be traditional gift cards, the Washington D.C.-based trade group says its expects digital gift cards, tied to mobile devices, to be increasingly popular.

Older shoppers (65 plus) say they are likely to spend the most, averaging $175.96; those who are 35 to 44 came in next, with the intention of spending $171.15 on average. Men say they are likely to shell out $171.53 on gift card purchases, compared with women's $155.42.

Department stores (40.3%) and restaurants (34.2%) continue to be the top choices for cards, but coffee cards are coming on strong, gaining to 19%. (That's a 13% jump from last year.) And 12% will buy people gas cards, also a record for the survey.

Consumers say they love them for their versatility, and 43.1% say they like that the recipient chooses their own gift is what influences their purchases. Still, 25.3% dismiss them as too impersonal.

The research is based on responses from 6,200 adults.

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