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NRF: Holiday shoppers to spend $31 billion on gift cards


Washington, D.C. –- During the 2014 holiday season, spending on tiny plastic or digital gift cards will top all previous records. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) Gift Card Spending Survey, the average person buying gift cards will spend $172.74, up from $163.16 in 2013. Total spending is expected to reach $31.74 billion.

According to the survey, shoppers will spend an average of $47.87 per card, up from $45.16 the previous year. Total spending on gift cards has increased 83% since NRF began tracking consumers’ intentions to buy gift cards as holiday gifts in 2003. The survey found adults 65 and older will spend the most on gift cards at an average of $204.59. Young adults between 18-24-years-old will spend the least at an average of $113.75. Men plan to spend significantly more than women on gift cards ($180.81 compared to $165.09 respectively).

When asked why they are planning to buy gift cards this holiday season, more than half (51.8%) of shoppers said that gift cards allow the recipient to select their own gift, up from 43.1% in 2013, and the highest since NRF started asking the question in 2010. Additionally, one-quarter (25.6%) said gift cards are easier and faster to buy, and 3.8 percent said this helps them stick to their holiday budget.

In terms of where they will buy holiday gift cards, 37.7% of gift card buyers will purchase a gift card from a department store, and 34% will give a gift card from a restaurant. One in five (20.6%) will pick up coffee shop gift cards, 18.1% will give the gift of entertainment, such as a movie theatre gift card, and 18.9% will give gift cards to electronics stores.

In an October NRF survey, 62% of shoppers said they would like to receive a gift card, making gift cards the most requested gift item eight years in a row.

“No longer impersonal or only about convenience, gift cards have become the perfect, practical gift item for millions of holiday shoppers,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “And, as the most requested gift item for eight years in a row, we’re sure there will be plenty of happy individuals this holiday season who can look forward to treating themselves to something shiny and new come January when retailers start to offer promotions on fresh new merchandise.”

The NRF 2014 Gift Card Spending Survey polled 6,593 consumers and was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics, Nov. 3-10, 2014.

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