Holiday Shoppers Say They Will be Looking for Gift Cards

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NRF survey says consumers to spend $17.24 billion on gift cards

As holiday business forecasts continues to point to bullish retail sales, the National Retail Federation (NRF) is projecting that gift cards will be an extremely popular item on consumers’ shopping lists. A recent NRF "Gift Card Survey" found that 69.9 percent of consumers plan to buy gift cards this holiday, spending an average of $34.24 per card.

NRF projects that total holiday gift card sales will reach $17.24 billion, which, the association said, would account for nearly 8 percent of all holiday sales. "Gift cards are a great selection for the person who has everything," NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin noted in a statement. "They are more convenient than the gift certificates of years’ past and they’re no longer considered the ‘lazy man’s gift’ -- people love to get them." In an earlier survey, 48.4 percent of consumers said they would like to receive gift cards this year, up from 41.3 percent in 2002.

NRF forecast that the average person purchasing a gift card will buy more than three cards (3.34), spending a total of $114.44. The survey indicated that consumers over age 65 plan to buy 3.90 cards, on average, spending $130.62. Consumers 55 - 64 will purchase an average of 3.61 cards, spending $134.80. In addition, men plan to spend $120.57 each on gift cards while women plan to spend $109.23.

The news comes on the heels of Book Sense's announcement that it has reached an agreement with Givex -- the Book Sense Gift Card program's transaction processor -- to lower the minimum for generic gift card orders. Previously, the minimum was 250 cards per design and per order; now, it is just 100 cards per design and per order to get started in the program. Importantly, since generic cards ship within five to seven working days, booksellers still have time to launch a program prior to the holidays. [For more on the new arrangement, click here.]