While some call it a thoughtless gift, gift cards are becoming more popular than ever. This year, for the first time ever, gift cards outranked clothes and toys as the hottest holiday gift. A new survey by Accenture found 59% of Americans want a gift card, compared to 56% for apparel and 44% for toys. Three-quarters of consumers will spend the same for a gift card as they would a gift for someone. Seven out of ten gift card recipients plan to spend their gift card within three months or less. Four out of five respondents say will be buying gift cards this holiday season. Troubling for retailers, however, is the survey finding that 44% of gift card recipients will maximize the value of the card by purchasing discounted items and a quarter will use their gift cards to buy regular, staple products rather than treating themselves to something more expensive. This is the exact opposite of the trend of the previous two holiday shopping seasons.