NRF: Gift cards to be the most requested gift this holiday

October 28, 2008
Written by NRF
giftcardAccording to NRF’s 2008 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, 54.9 per cent of consumers would like to receive a gift card this holiday season, up slightly from 53.8 per cent last year. Gift cards will be the most requested gift this year, followed by books, CDs, DVDs, videos or video games (50.0%) and clothing or accessories (49.8%).

Preliminary gift card research conducted for NRF by BIGresearch found that shoppers’ main reasons for buying gift cards were that gift cards allow the recipient to select their own gift (25.4%) and that gift cards are easier and faster to buy than traditional gifts (12.6%). Some consumers say they are enticed to buy gift cards by retailer incentives (6.3%) or because they are easier to ship than traditional gifts (6.7%). Others say gift cards help them stick to their budget (5.7%) or like the fact that a gift recipient won’t have to deal with returning unwanted merchandise (5.1%).

The main reasons why consumers said they would be less likely to buy gift cards this holiday season are because they feel the cards are impersonal (22.7%), that they would rather stretch their dollar by buying merchandise on sale (10.9%), and because they do not want to buy a card with expiration dates or added fees (9.8%). Other shoppers say they simply do not know which gift card a person would want (7.7%), while a small number of shoppers says that they are worried the gift recipient will lose it (3.9%) or that the retailer will go out of business (3.1%).

Other research reveals that customers are looking for more personalization when it comes to buying gift cards. One-fourth (25.4%) of people said they would be less likely to buy gift cards because they think the gift is impersonal. Look at how you can help that customer create a personalized gift card - maybe they could design their own or include add-ons to give it a unique touch. Another thing to consider when selling gift cards is to make it easier to replace lost or stolen gift cards. Keep a good record of gift cards sold and advise customers to keep their receipt. If possible, look in to ways in which shoppers can register their gift card online so they can monitor their balance and receive a new card in the event that it gets lost.

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