Plastic will stand as the gift of choice for many consumers this holiday season, with 81 percent of shoppers saying that up to half their gifts this year could be gift cards, according to a new survey from Blackhawk Network, one of two recent reports that paints a picture of how consumers are likely to spend in the all-important fourth quarter.
The Blackhawk survey, “How America Gives Gifts in 2016,” is based on online surveys conducted in September of 2,342 U.S. adults. It also found that 80 percent of shoppers surveyed plan on purchasing at least one gift card this holiday season, and 42 percent said that “brand is an important factor when giving gifts,” another potential market in favor of gift cards.
Blackhawk research also said:
- 50 percent of consumers will use their credit cards, and 28 percent their debit cards, when buying holiday gifts this year.
- Consumers favored in-store shopping, 91 percent, more than online shopping, 75 percent.
- When shopping online, men are more likely to use laptop or desktop computers, with women more likely to use smartphones.
In the other study, First Data’s “2016 U.S. Prepaid Consumer Insights Study,” 35 percent of consumers said they have bought gift cards for themselves, up from 26 percent from the last study in 2014. When it comes to digital gift cards, 53 percent of consumers have self-purchased them, up from 13 percent in 2014. And consumers want gift cards as presents: 42 percent of consumers would prefer receiving gift cards instead of other gifts.
The study also points to the growing importance of mobile commerce for gift cards: “50 percent of respondents across all age groups are at least somewhat interested in using an app to store gift card information on their phone, with 59 percent preferring to use one app to store gift cards from multiple merchants.”
Mercator recently predicted that loads onto closed-loop gift cards in the U.S. from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, 2016, will reach $48.3 billion, a 3 percent increase compared with $46.9 billion during the same period a year ago.
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