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Study: Many shoppers plan to buy gift cards this holiday


LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Spend on prepaid gift cards is on the rise this holiday season, as a significant majority (70%) of shoppers plan to purchase gift cards this season, according to an interim holiday spending report released by Stored Value Solutions, a provider of gift cards and stored value services.

According to the report, 92% of shoppers plan to spend either the same amount or more on gift cards than they spent last year. And for the eighth straight year, gift cards have been the most desired holiday gift.

SVS has been tracking gift card data for nearly a decade, but this is the first report to be issued publicly on this sector of holiday retail spending, a category whose numbers are difficult to capture in the aggregate, the company stated. The inaugural report provides detailed break downs of gift card spend by sector, geography and demographics.

SVS’s research is tracked against real-time activity the company sees firsthand, including first-time gift card sales, increases or decreases in same-merchant sales, and average dollar amounts loaded onto the gift cards.

“The actual real-time spending data we possess allows us to test the survey results, and at this time in the holiday season, we’re able to identify some close correlations between intention and actual activity. That’s always a hard thing to nail in a consumer survey,” said SVS’ managing director and EVP Mark Schatz,

In addition, SVS’s real-time data is able to correlate gift card spending with more macroeconomic retail spending trends, seeing a commensurate rise in the dollar value of gift card spending when overall sales are on the upswing.

Other findings of the study include:

  • The average consumer plans to spend $231 on gift cards;

  • Men are planning to spend more on gift cards than women;

  • 90% of consumers that have finished some, but not most of their shopping (26% to 50%) are planning to purchase gift cards; and

  • 58% of younger people (18 to 35) are planning to increase the amount they are spending on gift cards.

Schatz added, “Because we’re able to pinpoint the ways people use gift cards, we can draw interesting insights not only about the general state of consumer shopping behavior, but about how this changes by generation, by channel and by gender. This holiday season is a reflection of a pattern we’ve seen unfolding for some time.”

A nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults ages 18 years and older completed the brief survey Dec. 1 to 2.

Of the respondents, 696 adults confirmed they had already purchased or intend to purchase gift cards this holiday season.

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