Cards Become Gift of Choice for Many

Dec 02, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Tracy Mullin, president of the National Retail Federation (NRF) says, “They’re no longer considered the ‘lazy man’s gift’– people love to get them.”

Britt Beemer of America’s Research Group says nobody thinks they’re impersonal anymore.

Retailers are just happy to have them — gift cards.

According to a piece by Charlotte Observer columnist Leigh Dyer, gift cards are becoming the present of choice for many consumers.

Consider the numbers:

  • According to NRF estimates, consumers will spend more than $17.2 billion on gift cards in 2003.

  • Nearly 70 percent of consumers plan to buy at least one gift card. The average gift card purchaser will buy 3.34 cards,

  • The number of consumers buying gift cards has almost doubled in one year’s time.

  • Gift cards are especially popular with older consumers, a good trend as consumers over the age of 55 become a larger segment of the total population.

Moderator’s Comment: To what do you attribute the growing popularity of gift cards? What do you see as the next big thing in gift card giving?

While not an answer to our questions, an interesting point made in Leigh Dyer’s column is that many retailers do not book the sale of the cards until they
are redeemed. This may artificially lower sales numbers for the Thanksgiving through New Year holiday selling season while driving first quarter 2004 numbers up.
Anderson – Moderator

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