Gift givers now prefer gift cards to cash, study finds

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on October 19, 2004

More than half of American consumers prefer electronic gift or spending cards when giving gifts rather than giving cash or paper gift certificates, according to the fourth annual Consumer Insights Survey commissioned by spending card solutions firm ValueLink.

Of those consumers surveyed, 52% said they would prefer to give a gift card, while 38% prefer to give cash and 11% prefer to give gift certificates (11%). According to ValueLink, the survey of 1,006 US adults reveals a steady growth in gift card usage across several measurable categories, and American consumers are purchasing more gift cards at higher values than at any time since the annual survey began tracking the figures in 2001.

Some 64% said they purchased and/or received a gift card in the previous 12 months, compared to only 36% in the original 2001 survey. Consumers had purchased an average of just under seven gift cards in the previous 12 months, with an average value of US$59 per card (up from 4.1 cards at US$44 per card in 2001).

Most spend more
Of those who had received a gift card in the previous 12 months, 27% said they spent the initial value of their card within one week of receiving it, and another 31% spent the value within one month. More than half (55%) of those surveyed said they spent more than the value of the card when they used it.

"Tracking these statistics over a four year period has provided us with a definitive picture of the American consumer's acceptance, purchase and use of electronic gift cards," explained Kevin Harte, senior vice president and general manager for ValueLink.