Gift cards made of corn, biodegradable gift cards, and gift cards with individual photos and video clips could be the top gifts this coming holiday shopping season, according to electronic gift card provider Comdata Stored Value Solutions.
According to Bob Skiba, executive vice president for Comdata, the 2006 holiday season will see consumers giving each other gifts in ways that don't harm the environment: "Gift cards made from corn require less fossil fuel to manufacture, are made from an abundant and annually renewable resource and are identical in look and feel to traditional plastic gift cards."
Skiba reported that ever-increasing numbers of merchants are making gift cards available, and that gift cards are now becoming more personalised. For example, Skiba suggested, a one-of-a-kind gift might be a gift card bearing a photograph of the gift-giver, or even their family Christmas pose.
And Comdata's own solutions are set to add yet more innovation to the mix: the company is currently testing gift cards that can play back a video clip.
Comdata recently conducted its fourth annual survey of adult gift card purchasers to help gain insights into the forthcoming holiday season. Results included:
- 95% of adult survey respondents stated that they had either received or purchased a gift card - a 24% increase over 2005.
- Two occasions for gift card purchases still dominate: birthdays (78%) and winter holidays (67%).
- 27% of adult consumers say that they have purchased gift cards over the internet.
- 22% of adult consumers say that they have purchased gift cards at gift card malls (where a variety of gift cards are available at a central location like a supermarket or drugstore).
- Hispanic shoppers reported that 32% of Hispanic adults have bought gift cards at a gift card mall.
- 31% of adult consumers report purchasing gift cards for themselves this year - an increase from the 12% of shoppers who said they had bought gift cards for themselves in 2005.
- Adults surveyed stated that 46% of all the gifts purchased in the past 12 months were gift cards.
- Adult purchasers load each gift card they purchase with an average of US$46 - up 21% on the average value loaded in 2003.
- 24% of consumers had received gifts cards from their employer as a bonus, incentive or reward.
- Hispanics are more likely to purchase a gift card to give to a youngster as an allowance or budgeting tool.