Americans Spent $27.8 billion on Gift Cards, More than Expected; Less Than Half Redeemed

American consumers spent an average of $164.81 on gift cards, up from the $146.20 they expected to spend, driving the total gift card spending during the 2006 holiday season to $27.8 billion, according to an NRF survey, conducted by BIGresearch. 

Shoppers said they had spent less than half of the value of their gift cards (37.3% on average) by the second week in January.  According to the survey, half of shoppers (50.9%) who have redeemed holiday gift cards said they spent additional money beyond the value of the card to purchase an item. 

Other Highlights from the gift card survey:

  • Men spent the most on gift cards ($176.84) while young adults 18-24 spent the least ($118.12).
  • Gift cards to a department store were the most popular to give, at 37.9%, followed by restaurants (26.8%), bookstores (18.0%), electronics stores (16.2%) and discounters (14.8%). 
  • Most consumers (76.7%) chose to buy gift cards from stores where the card could be used. 
  • Many shoppers (17.3%) purchased store gift cards from other retailers, like convenience stores and supermarkets. 
  • Nearly one-fifth (17.7%) of consumers said they purchased a gift card online. 

The survey, which polled 7,703 consumers, was conducted for NRF by BIGresearch from January 2-10, 2007. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1%

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