Gift Card Purchases on the Rise This Holiday Season

Gift card spending is on the rise this holiday season, according to an interim holiday spending report released today by Stored Value Solutions (SVS), a global provider of gift cards and stored-value services.

According to SVS, gift cards have become a gift of choice. The consumer-spending survey, conducted on Dec. 1 and 2, found that 92 percent of shoppers planned to spend either the same amount or more on gift cards than they spent last year. And, for the eighth year in a row, gift cards have been the most desired holiday gift.

The majority of gift cards will be redeemed between Dec. 26 and 28, with 80 percent redeemed in the first two months after Christmas, according to Mark Schatz, managing director and EVP of SVS.

“The actual real-time spending date 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,” Schatz said.

“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, channel and gender. This holiday season is a reflection of a pattern we’ve seen unfolding for some time,” he added.

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • The average consumer planned to spend $231 on gift cards.
  • Men planned to spend more on gift cards than women.
  • A whopping 90 percent of consumers that have finished some or most of their shopping (26 percent to 50 percent) were planning to purchase gift cards.
  • Around 58 percent of people (18 to 35) were planning to increase the amount they are spending on gift cards.

Findings are drawn based on data from real-time gift card activity, including first-time sales, activations and increases/decreases in same-merchant sales. SVS also tracks average dollar amounts loaded onto gift cards, since these cards typically come with no consumer fees and no expiration date for a minimum of five years.

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