NRF Forecast: Record Gift Card Sales; Digital and Coffee Gift Cards Hot (Nov. 18, 2013)
Gift cards once again are topping consumers’ 2013 holiday wish lists, with a twist: Santa will deliver more gift cards than ever via mobile devices and there will be plenty of caffeine for all, according to the National Retail Federation’s latest consumer survey forecasting a record $29.8 billion in total gift card spending.
“As more and more Americans are tied to their mobile devices, we expect digital gift cards to be especially popular with consumers,” Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO, said in an announcement detailing results of a survey Prosper Insights and Analytics conducted online Nov. 1-7 among 6,201 consumers. A growing number of retailers will offer gift cards via electronic channels, the survey suggests. Prepaid card and technology provider InComm this month unveiled mobile-optimized technology enabling retailers to offer gift cards to their customers via mobile devices.
Starbucks and its competitors also are positioned for record holiday gift card sales this year. Nearly one in five gift card buyers, or 19 percent, plan to buy their loved ones a hot cup of coffee, up sharply from 13 percent four years ago, survey results indicate.
This year eight out of 10 holiday shoppers will buy gift cards, spending an average of $163.16, up 4 percent over $156.86 spent last year, the NRF forecasts. Consumers on average will spend $45.16 per card, up from $43.75 last year, and shoppers ages 65 and older will spend the most, averaging $175.96 per card. Men plan to shell out $171.35 on average, 10 percent more than women, who each plan to spend an average of $155.42.
Department stores once again rank first among all types of gift cards consumers plan to purchase this holiday season, accounting for 40.3 percent of planned purchases, followed by restaurants at 34.2 percent, and electronics stores at 20.1 percent. Just over one in 10 holiday shoppers, or 12.7 percent, plan give a gift card to an online merchant.
Six in 10 consumers said they would like to receive a gift card this holiday season, and a large share of consumers agree that letting the recipient choose their own gift is what influences their purchases. But gift cards still have some doubters: 25.3 percent of consumers feel gift cards are “too impersonal,” the survey’s results suggest.