Consumers Covet Gift Cards for Holidays

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Consumers Covet Gift Cards for Holidays

WASHINGTON -- Once again, gift cards will be the most requested gift this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2008 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch.

More than half (54.9 percent) of consumers would like to receive a gift card this holiday season, up slightly from 53.8 percent last year. Gift cards will be the most requested gift this year, followed by books, CDs, DVDs, videos or video games (50 percent) and clothing or accessories (49.8 percent).

Preliminary gift card research conducted for NRF by BIGresearch found shoppers’ main reasons for buying gift cards were that gift cards allow the recipient to select their own gift (25.4 percent), and gift cards are easier and faster to buy than traditional gifts (12.6 percent). Some consumers said they are enticed to buy gift cards by retailer incentives (6.3 percent) or because cards are easier to ship than traditional gifts (6.7 percent). Others said gift cards help them stick to their budget (5.7 percent) or like the fact a gift recipient won’t have to deal with returning unwanted merchandise (5.1 percent).

A study conducted earlier this month by Convenience Store News’ parent company, The Nielsen Co., predicted with the economy in turmoil, gift cards for gasoline and other basic necessities would be a hot item this holiday season. See that story by clicking here.

In the NRF study, the main reasons why consumers said they would be less likely to buy gift cards this holiday season are because they feel cards are impersonal (22.7 percent); they would rather stretch their dollar by buying merchandise on sale (10.9 percent); and they do not want to buy a card with expiration dates or added fees (9.8 percent). Other shoppers said they simply do not know which gift card a person would want (7.7 percent), while a small number of shoppers said they are worried the gift recipient will lose it (3.9 percent) or the retailer will go out of business (3.1 percent).

The NRF survey about receiving gift cards polled 8,117 consumers and was conducted by BIGresearch between Sept. 30, and Oct. 7, 2008. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent. The survey about positive and negative considerations when buying gift cards polled 4,048 consumers and was conducted for NRF by BIGresearch Oct. 17-21, 2008.