Survey: Gift Card Spending to Drop Slightly

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Survey: Gift Card Spending to Drop Slightly

According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2009 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by Worthington, Ohio-based BIGresearch, holiday shoppers plan to spend slightly less on gift cards, with the average person spending $139.91, compared with $147.33 last year.

The survey, which polled 8,692 consumers from Nov. 3 through Nov. 10, revealed that total spending on gift cards is expected to reach $23.63 billion. Gift-card recipients also can expect cards with lower monetary values this year. The average value per card this year will be $39.80, compared with $40.54 in 2008. Consistent with last year, 77.2 percent of people will buy at least one card this holiday season.

The survey found that 22.1 percent of gift givers said the main reason for not buying gift cards is because they’re too impersonal, while 12.6 percent of respondents are concerned about expiration dates or fees, and others would rather stretch their budgets by buying items on sale (9.1 percent). Others worry that the recipient will lose the card or never use it (5.3 percent), are concerned that the company will go out of business (5.6 percent) or aren’t sure which company to buy a card from (6.6 percent).

According to the survey, department store gift cards will be the most popular, with 38.4 percent of gift-givers planning to give at least one card from a department store. Gift cards to restaurants (33.4 percent), bookstores (24.4 percent), electronics stores (18.8 percent) and discount stores (16.3 percent) were also among shoppers’ favorites. In addition, nearly 22.1 percent of gift givers will give a gift card issued by a credit card or bank.

- Nielsen Business Media