Eight out of ten American consumers say they would rather receive a gift card redeemable at their favourite retailer than any other kind of gift, according to a new survey conducted by electronic gift card programme provider Stored Value Systems.
Bob Skiba, executive vice president and general manager for Stored Value Systems, said that the company has been conducting gift card popularity surveys for a number of years, and has observed a steady increase in consumers' acceptance of and desire for gift cards. According to Skiba, "Many people specifically ask for gift cards for their favourite store or restaurant."
Among its main findings, the survey results included that:
- 76% of adults purchased gift cards in the 2005 holiday season;
- 91% of adults who had received holiday gift cards had redeemed them before the end of February 2006;
- 75% of recipients made sure they used up the card completely;
- 80% of consumers said they would rather get a gift card for a favourite retailer than any other kind of gift;
- More than half said that they "always" or "often" add their own money when making a purchase using a gift card;
- Of those purchasing holiday gift cards, two-thirds bought them in early December;
- 68% of adults preferred or bought gift cards featuring an appropriate holiday design;
- Consumers spend more (33%) or spend the same amount (47%) on a gift card than they would on an alternative gift;
- Those who received gift cards during the 2005 holiday season were given an average of 2.6 cards, with an average value of US$42.32.
Skiba concluded: "We were interested in some of the new distribution channels for people receiving cards, such as their availability from gift card malls, from the retailer's web site, or as incentives and gifts from employers."
The company also reported that gift card usage is expanding into other areas beyond traditional holiday season gifts for friends and family. Special events and holidays such as Valentine's Day, weddings, birthdays and anniversaries are all times when people exchanges gifts, and consumers are increasingly using gift cards for these occasions as well.