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Consumer Gift Card Spending Expected to Increase This Holiday Season

This season eight in 10 shoppers are expected to add gift cards to their shopping lists, according to the National Retail Federation’s Gift Card Spending Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. 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.

“Shoppers today recognize gift cards as the perfect fool-proof option for friends and family,” says NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “And 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.”

According to NRF’s first 2013 holiday survey released in October, six in 10 of those polled said they’d like to receive gift cards this year, the seventh year in a row gift cards have topped holiday wish lists.

Consumers also will 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 35-44 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).

“Gift givers know that many of their loved ones may have been holding back on spending on themselves all year long, and would love nothing more than to receive a gift card that allows them to purchase whatever they want,” says Prosper’s Consumer Insights Director Pam Goodfellow.

When it comes to why people do or don’t buy gift cards, 43.1 percent agree that letting the recipient choose their own gift is what influences their purchases. About 25.3 percent still feel gift cards are too impersonal.

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About Amanda Bell

Amanda Bell was an assistant editor of Hardware Retailing and NRHA. Amanda regularly visited with home improvement retailers across the country and attended industry events and seminars. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Ball State University and has received honors for her work for Hardware Retailing from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

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