Gift Card Spending Reaches All-Time High

Gift card Washington–Whether it’s convenience or providing a holiday gift recipient with the means to choose their own present, gift cards will be more important than ever this holiday shopping season. In fact, 8 in 10 (80.6%) shoppers will look to add gift cards to their shopping lists, according to NRF’s Gift Card Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.

This year, holiday shoppers will spend an average of $163.16 on gift cards, up 4% 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.*

“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,”  said Matthew Shay, NRF president/ceo.

According to NRF’s first 2013 holiday survey, released in October, 6 in 10 (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.

Department Stores a ‘Top Choice’

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 to 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. Additionally, 20.1% will purchase gift cards from an electronic store and 12.7% will choose from an e-commerce site.

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%).

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 to 2013. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.3 percentage points. www.nrf.com

*Total spending is extrapolation of U.S. population ages 18+

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