Study: 8 of 10 Consumers Prefer Gift Cards to Any Other Gift

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Gift cards are no longer merely a last resort for people who don't know what to buy. In fact, a new survey commissioned by Stored Value Systems shows quite the opposite: most consumers now prefer them as gifts.

"We've been doing surveys and watching gift cards grow in popularity for years," said Bob Skiba, e.v.p. and g.m. at SVS. "Cards are so appreciated that many people specifically ask for gift cards to their favorite store or restaurant."

Survey highlights:
-- Seventy-six percent of adults purchased gift cards in the 2005 holiday season.
-- Ninety-one percent of adults who had received holiday gift cards during the last year's holiday season had redeemed them before the end of February 2006.
-- Three-quarters of recipients made sure they used up the card completely.
-- Eight in 10 people would rather get a gift card to a favorite retailer than any other kind of gift.
-- More than one-half of respondents say that they always or often add their own money when making a purchase with a gift card.
-- Of those purchasing holiday gift cards, two-thirds bought them in early December.
-- Sixty-eight percent of adults prefer or bought gift cards with an appropriate holiday design.
-- Eight respondents in ten say that they spend more (33 percent) or the same amount (47 percent) on a gift card than they would on an alternate gift.
-- Those who received gift cards during the 2005 holiday season were given an average of 2.6 cards, with an average value of $42.32.

"We are also seeing that gift card usage is expanding into other areas beyond the traditional winter holiday gift for friends and family," said Skiba. "Special events and holidays like Valentine's Day, weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries are times when our culture exchanges gifts, so it is only natural that consumers use those occasions to offer a loved one a gift card."

Stored Value Systems, Inc. is a provider of electronic gift cards and other card-based transaction programs, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Comdata Corp.
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