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11/27/2007

Average Person Spends $203 On Gift Cards During Holidays

U.S. shoppers plan to spend $26.3 billion on gift cards this year, up 6% compared to last year, according to a recent survey. In 2006, consumers said they intended to spend $24.8 billion on gift cards, but actual sales totaled $27.8 billion during the holidays, the NRF found.

The survey, which polled 7,982 consumers from October 31 to November 7, was conducted by BIGresearch for the NRF. They found that the average shopper is expected to spend $122.59 on gift cards this year�up from $116.51 in 2006. Of all shoppers, 87.7% said they plan to buy two or more gift cards this holiday season.

�As consumers become more strapped for time, they are constantly looking for ways to make holiday shopping easier and less stressful,� said Phil Rist, vice president of strategy for BIGresearch, in a statement. �Gift cards allow for a faster and more convenient way to buy gifts for family and friends.� 

What group is spending the most? Hispanics are emerging as top spenders when it comes to gift-card purchases, a separate study found. Some 69% said they spend more than the card amount, compared to 52% of Caucasians and 44% of African-Americans, according to Comdata-Stored Value Solutions� fifth annual gift-card survey.

Hispanics receive gift cards with an average value of $71, a 33% increase from 2006. In comparison, African-Americans receive average card balances of $60 and Caucasians $41, the survey said, which polled people for seven days in September. The study also found that 26% of Hispanics give gift cards to children as a budgeting tool or in lieu of an allowance.

Other findings included:

         Hispanics buy cards with higher initial values and are most likely to reload the cards.

         Ninety percent of Hispanics buy cards at a specific retailer, compared to 38% who use the Internet and 31% who buy cards at gift card malls.

         Some 24% of Hispanics said they prefer cards that also function as a DVD with music, whereas 75% like a card presented in unusual packaging.

Overall, gift-card spending is projected to rise. The average person plans to spend $203 on cards during the holidays, up from $186 last year, according to the survey. Average per-card amounts rose from $46 in 2006 to $53 this year.

 Editor�s note: If you receive gift cards that are not to your liking, you can sell or barter them at www.swapagift.com. You may also purchase gift cards at a cash discount from Swapagift.com.


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