Are Gift Cards the Best Gift?
January’s retail sales strength is reflected in people redeeming their Christmas gift cards. The average adult received 3.2 gift cards this holiday season, up from 2.5 gift cards last year. Gift cards are more popular and this also moves spending into January. Consumers are also interested in receiving gift cards at other times that just at Christmas.
A survey by Deloitte & Touche USA found:
- 80% of adults received at least one gift card to an apparel or food store
- 33% received at least one gift card to a restaurant
- 14% received one gift card to a mall or shopping center
- 10% received a gift card that could be used at a variety of stores (e.g., an American Express gift card)
- 5% received at least one for a personal service such as a manicure or massage
- 5% received at least one gift card for an Internet site (e.g., ebay, Amazon)
Price ranges for gift cards ranged from $78 for an American Express card, while the lowest was for a $32 restaurant card. Bank gift cards are more likely to be used in January. Nearly 74% of these gift cards have been redeemed or partially redeemed by the end of January.
People were more likely to buy full price retail items with their gift cards. Many analysts believe the “gift” aspect allows consumers to treat themselves to new full-priced merchandise.
Retailers also benefit when consumers redeem a gift card, nearly 62% spend more than the face value of the card. This is an opportunity for retailers to increase sales, as sales cannot be reported until the gift card is redeemed.
Consumers also expressed an interest in receiving gift cards for other holidays. For example, a gift card for an “experience” is widely received as a result of people being time-pressed. Getting a gift card for a trip to a restaurant or massage or even a weekend getaway seems to be a trend people are enjoying.
Teens enjoy gift cards because they are more eager to shop with their friends and are more apt to redeem their cards quicker than adults. The survey showed teens redeemed 76% of their gift cards vs. 61% of adults.
Gift cards keep on giving, after the holidays, especially for retailers. Gift cards are here to stay. Consumers enjoy using them and retailers enjoy getting them. Gift cards are an appropriate gift for all occasions.