Gift Cards a Bright Spot for Some Retailers, Restaurants

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Gift Cards a Bright Spot for Some Retailers, Restaurants

Shopping survey experts National Research Network (NRN) and leading consumer anthropologists The Hartman Group today announced data results revealing that the number of consumers purchasing gift cards increased significantly over the past six months.

Over half (57 percent) of American consumers say they purchased at least one gift card within the past year, an increase of 5 percent from six months ago (when last measured). Surveyed during a time when the national unemployment rate is staggering under 9 percent and the economic recession continues to linger, gift cards continue to sell. The top three most purchased gift cards are big-box retailers, restaurants and department stores.

“Surprisingly, even with the unfavorable economic conditions, almost half (48 percent) of gift card recipients spend more than the amount on the gift card,” said Keith Maladra, VP, consumer intelligence, at NRN. “We found that gift cards are still encouraging personal spending. In fact, far less (16 percent) of gift card recipients spend less than the amount on the gift cards.”

“Gift cards are an important element of how gifting itself is changing.” added Michelle Barry, Ph.D., SVP at The Hartman Group. “For diverse marketers in retail, restaurant and financial services, the opportunity to make the gift card experience more meaningful -- both in giving and receiving -- is substantial.”

The report finds that while more American consumers are purchasing gift cards, the average amount per gift card has decreased. Consumers who purchased a gift card within the past year spent $46 per gift card, on average, compared to $52 spent on average per gift card between September 2007 and August 2008.

“Gift Card Buying Trends” compares shopper intentions pre-holiday shopping season with their actual purchase behavior post-holiday 2008. For more information on the NRN-Hartman Group “Gift Card Buying Trends: Shopper Intentions and Purchase Behaviors 2009” report, please visit: