Consumer Payment Card News

Gift Cards

A new survey by the nation’s largest processor has found that single-merchant gift cards are more heavily purchased with an average of 4.7 cards per purchaser. However, general purpose gift cards, averaging 2.6 cards per purchaser, are increasing in popularity as choice and convenience continue to drive the market. The poll, by the TNS Consumer Online Panel for First Data, also found that 78% of American adults purchased or received a gift card in the previous 12 months and 43% did both. In 2005 only 59% of Americans did both according to First Data surveys. On average, American consumers purchased five gift cards in the previous 12 months and spent an average $281 on those cards. Gift card recipients, regardless of whether it was a single- or multi-merchant card, spent an average $39 over the original value of the gift card. Nearly one in four gift card purchasers chose a gift card that could be used at a variety of stores, restaurants and other retailers. Heavy gift card purchasers, those who spend more than $200 per year on single-merchant gift cards, purchased an average of 8.4 gift cards in the previous 12 months. Additionally, purchasers under age 44 are more likely to obtain gift cards from discount stores, while those aged 65+ are more attracted to gift cards from department stores.

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|_. 2001: | 36% |
|_. 2002: | 41% |
|_. 2003: | 47% |
|_. 2004: | 53% |
|_. 2005: | 59% |
|_. 2006: | 78% |
|_2. Source: First Data Gift Card Surveys |

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