Marketing to Women: 81% Will Purchase Gift Cards

November 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

I bought a Kroger gift card this week for a Thanksgiving gift.  I bought a Visa gift card the week before for a baby shower gift and another as a wedding gift.   And as I think about it, I probably buy them more often that I realize.  Seems many others are buying them as well.

The National Retail Federation’s 2012 holiday consumer spending survey shows that 81.1% will purchase at least one gift card.  We will spend an average of $156.86 on gift cards, the highest in the past ten years of the survey.

We want to receive gift cards.  A growing number of us would rather have a gift card than a gift.  Six in ten (59.8%) say they would like to receive a gift card, up from 57.7% last year.

We want to give gift cards.  Of course, the reason that we give gift cards is the ability for the recipient to pick out a gift they like.  But let’s face it.  It’s about convenience too.  No wrapping, no guessing on sizes, no shipping problems. So if you haven’t started promoting gift cards, now is the time!  The average spend on a single card is $43.75.  And of course, this blog is about marketing to women, but men tend to spend more on gift cards than women do ($172.98 vs. women at $141.66.)

Where are we buying gift cards that will make it to our Christmas stockings?  

39.1 % Department Store Gift Cards

33.3% Restaurant Gift Cards

20.8% Book Stores

18.1 % Coffee Shops

12.6%  Grocery/Gasoline

11.2%  Online Merchants

14.2% Discount Stores

Maybe the purchase of gift cards allows us to control what we spend as well.  Spending will be up a bit this year but not overly exuberant.  The average holiday shopper will spend $749.51 on gifts, décor, greeting cards and more, up slightly from the $740.57 they actually spent last year. NRF is forecasting holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion.  “More than half of Americans this holiday season will feel the impact of the economy and will compensate by doing what they’ve been doing for several years – looking for ways to cut any corners, comparative shop online and in stores more often, and even planning to travel less or not at all,” stated NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.


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