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Gift Card Survey Results In

[May 29, 2008.]


The results of the 2007 US Gift Card Consumer Insights Survey have become available earlier today. This results of this survey promise to change the way consumers shop and the way stores conduct business.

According to the 2007 survey, the most frequent occasions at which gift cards are purchased are birthdays and Christmas. Of those who have purchased gift cards to be used at one store, 68% have bought at least one of those gift cards for the birthday of someone they knew. At the same time, 61% of those who have bought these gift cards usable at only one store, have bought at least one such gift card for somebody during Christmas.

The year of 2007 has witnessed an increase in the purchase and use of gift cards, and this trend looks like it's set to continue for 2008. Of the survey's respondents, 88% have purchased more than merely one gift card. In fact, the average number of gift cards usable at only one store that were purchased in 2007 was five. Consumers have spent an average of $46 on each of the cards.

What makes the results of the survey so interesting is that retailer-specific gift cards tend to be purchased and used much more frequently than gift cards usable at more than one retailer. Only 28% of those who have bought gift cards in 2007 bought gift cards usable at more than one retailer.

The survey results indicate that psychology is at work here. Gift cards usable at only one retailer afford the perfect combination of flexibility and specificity. 72% of survey respondents said their biggest reason for buying a gift card was the desire to allow recipients to buy what they wanted. In other words, the majority of gift card purchasers lacked certitude as to what gifts to buy their beneficiaries.  Buying someone a gift card redeemable at only one kind of store gives gift-buyers and gift-receivers some leeway, without making the gift seem thoughtless or random.

For merchants, this is excellent news. Those who receive single-retailer gift cards have tended to shop at that retailer even when the gift card expired, expending and average of $29 more than the gift card was worth.

The survey itself was ordered by First Data Corp, and involved interviews with 2,182 gift-card purchasing adults. The data itself was collected between September 18 and 25 of 2007 by Market Strategies International.


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