Gift cards are very good for business, and getting better: 75 percent of U.S. consumers using the payment devices in 2016 spent more during their shopping trips than the value stored on those cards, according to a First Data study. That compares with 69 percent in 2015. The average extra spending stands at $27.74 more than the value of the card, the report said.
First Data based its report, “The Future of Gift Cards,” on an October survey of 3,650 consumers. It found that consumers are buying more gift cards: 5.9 on average in 2016 compared with 5.5 in 2015 and 4.7 in 2014.
Those gifts cards are becoming more digital and mobile. Last year, 51 percent of survey respondents bought or received digital gift cards; 72 percent bought or received physical gift cards. And half of the respondents, an even 50 percent, said they are interested in using mobile apps to store gift card information, with 78 percent “at least somewhat interested in email or text notifications about balances or special offers” related to gift cards.
First Data also found that more consumers like giving themselves gift cards, with “self-purchasing” of physical cards growing by 9 percent since 2014, and self-purchasing of digital cards growing by 13 percent. That mirrors another recent gift card study that said U.S. consumers in 2016 spent $11 billion on gift cards for themselves. As well, the National Retail Federation said that 58 percent of consumers planned to buy gift cards for themselves during the holiday season.
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