NRF: Gift card spending this holiday to reach highest level in past decade

Retail Editor 1, Staff Staff, November 16, 2012

Washington D.C. - Shoppers told the National Retail Federation in a recent survey that they plan to spend more than ever on gift cards, especially since retailers are increasingly offering more ways to personalize and deliver them as holiday gifts.

NRF's 2012 holiday consumer spending survey, which was conducted by BigInsight and polled 9,383 consumers from November 1 to 6, shows 81.1% of shoppers will purchase at least one gift card and will spend an average of $156.86 on gift cards -- the highest amount in the survey's 10-year history.

Total spending on gift cards will reach $28.79 billion.

When it comes to which gift cards people will buy this holiday season, more people than ever said they will give their friends or family members a gift card for an online merchant (11.2%) and coffee shops (18.1%). Others will buy gift cards to department stores (39.1%), book stores (20.8%), grocery/gasoline stores (12.6%), and discount stores (14.2%). And 33.3% of shoppers will send friends and family for a night out with restaurant gift cards.

According to NRF's first holiday survey, released in October, six in ten (59.8%) of consumers polled said they would like to receive gift cards this year, up from 57.7% last year.

"Retailers are pulling out all the stops this year to make their gift cards personal, convenient and desirable," said Matthew Shay, NRF president and ceo. "Savvy shoppers know they can purchase a much appreciated gift card with ease either in store, online or through their mobile device, and give their loved ones the option to buy something they really want or need."

Consumers will spend an average of $43.75 on each card they buy. As in previous years, men plan to spend significantly more on gift cards than women, shelling out an average of $172.98 versus women's $141.66.

"Gift cards are the perfect practical and personal gift, allowing the recipient to treat themselves to something nice, or even something they need," said Pam Goodfellow, BigInsight consumer insights director. "Whether it's a mobile card that consumers can use whenever it's most convenient or one that includes video or audio, gift cards can still be extremely personal."

More than one in five (21.1%) gift givers said they will buy gift cards because they are easier and faster than traditional gifts. But practicality comes out as the most likely reason shoppers will buy gift cards this year, as 44.7% said they allow the recipient to select their own gift (down from the 46.4% of people who said the same last year).


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