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Gift Card Spending Reaches All-Time High, According to NRF Survey

Posted on Jan 13, 2014 by in Blog | 0 comments

-Gas Station, Department Stores and Restaurants Favorite Choices for Gift Cards-

Washington, November 13, 2013 – It’s personal, it’s practical, and it comes with a price tag that matches anyone’s budget – it’s a gift card, and this season 8 in 10 (80.6%) shoppers will look to add these small gift items to their baskets. According to NRF’s Gift Card Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, holiday shoppers will spend an average of $163.16 on gift cards, up 4.0 percent over the $156.86 they spent last year and the highest amount in the survey’s 11-year history. Total spending on gift cards will reach $29.8 billion.*

Shoppers today recognize gift cards as the perfect fool-proof option for friends and family,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “And traditional gift cards aren’t the only winners this holiday season, as more and more Americans are tied to their mobile devices, we expect digital gift cards to be especially popular with consumers.”

According to NRF’s first 2013 holiday survey, released in October, six in ten (59.4%) of those polled said they’d like to receive gift cards this year, the seventh year in a row gift cards have topped holiday celebrants’ wish lists.

Consumers will also spend more on the cards they buy: those planning to buy gift cards will spend an average $45.16 per card, up from $43.75 last year and another survey high. Shoppers older than 65 years old will spend the most on gift cards at an average of $175.96, followed by 35-44 year olds who will spend $171.15 on average. Additionally, men will spend nearly $20 more than women on gift cards this holiday season ($171.35 vs. $155.42 respectively).

Department stores (40.3%) and restaurants (34.2%) will be the top choices for those giving gift cards, but nearly one in five (19.0%) will give the gift of a hot cup of coffee – up from 13.0 percent in 2009. Additionally, 20.1 percent will purchase gift cards from an electronic store and 12.7 percent will head to an online merchant.

With gas prices hovering around $3.19, some may see relief at the pump this holiday season from their friends or family members. According to the survey, 12.0 percent of shoppers will buy gift cards from gas stations, up from 11.0 percent last year and the highest amount seen in five years.

“Gift givers know that many of their loved ones may have been holding back on spending on themselves all year long, and would love nothing more than to receive a gift card that allows them to purchase whatever they want,” said Prosper’s Consumer Insights Director Pam Goodfellow. “Shoppers hoping to add an extra touch to their gift cards will have plenty of opportunities to add audio, video or image enhancements to select retailers’ gift cards, making even the smallest gift still very personal.”

When it comes to why people do or don’t buy gift cards, most agree (43.1%) that letting the recipient choose their own gift is what influences their purchases. However, some still feel gift cards are too impersonal (25.3%).

Visit the Retail Insight Center for all NRF holiday survey results, additional consumer research, government data, and economic analysis. After creating a free account, all historical and demographic data comes available through customizable tables and charts that can easily be exported to Excel.

About the Survey

The NRF 2013 holiday spending survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the winter holidays. The survey polled 6,201 consumers and was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics from November 1-7, 2013. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.3 percentage points.

Prosper Insights and Analytics delivers executives timely, consumer-centric insights from multiple sources. As a comprehensive resource of information, Prosper represents the voice of the consumer and provides knowledge to marketers regarding consumer views on the economy, personal finance, retail, lifestyle, media and domestic and world issues.

As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation.

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