Gift cards are what makes holiday shopping quicker for consumers, while gift card malls are what make holiday shopping painless, according to a survey by Comdata, which found that consumers used gift card malls in earnest this past holiday season.
The web-based survey of US adults conducted in February 2007 found that 22% of adults purchased cards at a gift card mall for the 2006 holiday season, up from 14% the year before.
What's in a mall?
A gift card mall is defined as a centralised location through which consumers can buy gift cards from various retailers. They are typically found in grocery stores, drugstores and convenience stores. For example, purchasers can buy cards from several major retailers while they pick up a prescription or shop for groceries, combining gift giving errands with the tasks they have to complete every day.
"This research confirms what we've heard from many of our clients: Consumers love the convenience of one-stop shopping," said Bob Skiba, executive vice president and general manager of Comdata's retail division, which sponsored the research.
Key findings from the report included:
- Four out of five consumers (80%) participating in the survey say that they would prefer to receive a gift card from a favourite store rather than a gift chosen for them by the giver.
- 53% of adults say they would be very or somewhat likely to purchase a gift card at a kiosk or cart at an airport or shopping mall.
- Purchasers loaded a higher average dollar amount on the cards they gave, with per capita spending increasing 15%.
- Three gift card recipients out of five (60%) report that they have redeemed all of the gift cards they received in the past holiday season.
- One-quarter of gift card purchasers (25%) bought one or more gift cards online. Of those, approximately one-third indicated that this was the first time they had purchased a gift card through the internet.
- 53% of respondents said they often spend more than the original amount on the gift card, adding an average of 17%.
- One-third of respondents (33%) are interested in a gift card that allows them to record a personal message.
"We were interested to see that consumers are loading more money onto gift cards; this shows us that they're using these cards as the primary gift for others," said Skiba. "As more retailers offer gift cards, we see the average amount on gift cards increase as consumers give gifts for bigger ticket items, such as appliances or electronics."