Nearly eight of ten Americans are aware of gift cards and how they work. A new survey shows that 37% of U.S. consumers have purchased or received a gift card in the past 12 months. Americans purchased an average of 4.6 cards per person over the past year, compared with 4.1 cards in 2001. According to data collected by TNS Intersearch for First Data’s ValueLink division, the average value of purchased cards rose to $50 per card versus $44 the previous year, while the average value of gift cards received increased from $51 in 2001 to $60 in 2002. Twelve percent of those surveyed indicated that they have purchased electronic cards for their own use in the past year. Other key research findings include: 79% are aware of gift cards; 61% said they usually spend more than the initial value of their gift card; 63% said they use up the value of their gift cards within one month; 28% make two or more visits to a store to use up the card value; and 21% of consumers said they are likely to purchase a gift card from a merchants’ Web site vs. 11% in 2001.