The National Retail Federation just released their 2011 Holiday Survey and once again gift cards have beat out all other options to remain the most wanted holiday gift. According to the survey, 80.2% of all holiday shoppers will purchase a gift card, up over 3% from 2010. It is estimated that consumers will spend on average $155.43 in gift cards with total spending reaching around $27.8 billion.
Consumers look to purchase gift cards not because of the convenience, but they like to allow the recipient to choose their own gift. It’s easier to allow someone to purchase something on their own, rather than picking something out that might not be desired.
Matthew Shay, NRF President and CEO said,
With discretionary gifts expected to be popular, many consumers will view gift cards as an ‘everyday value item,’ affording their loved ones the option of buying something they really want or need.
We recommend that consumers follow the Top 20 Most Popular Gift Cards list that we released when choosing what gift card to buy this holiday season. These types of gift cards were determined to be the most popular by the NRF survey.
Most Popular Gift Cards
The trends found in this survey actually match the same data that was released by GiftCardRescue.com in the top 20 most popular gift cards list. In the top 20 list, Walmart, Amazon.com and Target were the most desired gift cards and these merchants are each considered department stores. The only variation found between the two surveys were the popularity of restaurant gift cards in the NRF survey, where as in the GCR survey only two restaurant gift cards made it into the top 20.
As a gift card exchange retailer, we see a massive spike in restaurant gift cards that are sold for cash or Amazon.com credit immediately after Christmas. It appears that while consumers have the mindset that restaurant gift cards are desired, in actuality people prefer the department store and specialty merchants more.