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.