Holiday shoppers to spend more on gift cards this year

RetailME Bureau

This holiday season spending on plastic or digital gift cards will surpass all previous records, according to NRF’s Gift Card Spending Survey.

The survey states that the average person buying gift cards will spend $172.74, up from $163.16 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $31.74 billion.

In an October NRF survey 62% of shoppers said they would like to receive a gift card, making gift cards the most requested gift item eight years in a row.

“No longer impersonal or only about convenience, gift cards have become the perfect, practical gift item for millions of holiday shoppers,” says Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO.

“And, as the most requested gift item for eight years in a row, we’re sure there will be plenty of happy individuals this holiday season who can look forward to treating themselves to something shiny and new come January when retailers start to offer promotions on fresh new merchandise.”

According to the survey, shoppers will spend an average of $47.87 per card, up from $45.16 last year. Total spending on gift cards has increased 83% since NRF began tracking consumers’ intentions to buy gift cards as holiday gifts in 2003.

Gift cards are a go-to gift for consumers of all ages; the survey found adults 65+ will spend the most on gift cards at an average of $204.59. Young adults between 18-24 years old will spend the least at an average of $113.75. Additionally, men plan to spend significantly more than women on gift cards ($180.81 vs. $165.09 respectively).

When asked why they are planning to buy gift cards this holiday season, more than half (51.8%) of shoppers said that gift cards allow the recipient to select their own gift, up from 43.1% last year and the highest since NRF started asking the question in 2010. Additionally, one-quarter (25.6%) said gift cards are easier and faster to buy, and 3.8% said this helps them stick to their holiday budget.

“These days, shoppers simply love the idea of gifting someone they care about with a little ‘free money’ in the form of a gift card,” says Pam Goodfellow, Prosper’s principal analyst. “Consumers young and old want to find the best way possible to create a happy holiday experience for their loved ones, and gift cards are a great option every time.”

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