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Study: Who gets gift cards (and which kinds we prefer to get)

By Tyler Metzger

A new holiday season approaches, and gift cards remain an attractive present for many consumers. According to a survey conducted by Comdata in September 2007,  half of all presents bought by consumers were gift cards. Other interesting trends include:

  • 95 percent of those interviewed said they have either bought or received a gift card.
  • Consumers purchased an average of 4.83 gift cards for others in the past 12 months, which is about the same as in 2006.
  • The average value of gift cards purchased in 2007 was $53, up from $46 in 2006.
  • People bought gift cards for gifts mainly because they didn't want to worry about getting the correct size or color.
  • 60 percent of gift cards were bought as presents for females.
  • Receipt of cash cards such as Visa and MasterCard quadrupled in 2007 from 4 percent to 21 percent.

Gender drives gift card preference more than ethnicity.

From which of the following merchants (by percent) do you prefer to receive gift cards?
 
Ethnicity
 
   Gender
   
 
African
American 
Caucasian
Hispanic
 
Female
 Male
 
Total
Restaurant
57
45
37
52
38
45
Department store
48
41
48
47
38
42
Cash card
56
38
32
42
37
39
Clothing store
39
30
46
43
24
33
Discount store
27
31
36
33
29
31
Book store
25
29
43
34
26
30
Grocery store
38
28
25
35
22
28
Gas station
40
25
25
25
28
26
Electronics store
34
23
28
15
34
24
Coffee shop
14
15
30
18
14
16

line

Hispanics are more likely to give gift cards to co-workers or employees, and women give gift cards to relatives more than men.
For whom do you usually purchase gift cards (by percent)?

 
Ethnicity
 
   Gender
   
 
African
American
Caucasian
Hispanic
  Female  Male  
Total
Child
40
45
49
51
38
45
Friend
54
39
54
47
36
42
Parent
44
34
38
39
31
35
Sibling
45
31
35
37
29
33
Spouse
22
17
34
18
21
19
Co-worker
16
14
34
18
14
16
Grandchild
8
13
10
14
10
12
Love interest
15
10
16
9
13
11
Grandparent
5
8
10
8
7
8
Employee
5
6
21
6
9
7

Source: "Adult Gift Card Study," 2007. Comdata. Sampling error varies depending on answer. See study for details.


See related:
As holidays tighten, gift cards remain popular, Top 10 creative ways to wrap gift cards, 8 ways to get gift cards for less, How to claim expired gift card funds, 2008 gift card comparison table

Published: October 29, 2008


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Updated: 09-24-2016


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