Gift cards are gaining in popularity with gift givers — to the projected tune of $24.8 billion this year, and BIGresearch has discovered that gift receivers like the plastic cards, too.
BIGresearch Vice President Phil Rist says his company had been asking consumers whether or not they bought gift cards and if they did, to whom were they giving them. “But we decided to get into the question, ‘Do you enjoy receiving a gift card,’ ” he explains. “We gave them a five-point scale from ‘I hate them’ on one end, to ‘I love them’ on the other. What the consumers told us is that 65 percent love them or like them as a receiver. Only 2.3 percent hate them, and 4.3 percent dislike them.’
People give gift cards, Rist says, because they are time savers and because they help people who don’t know what to give — grandparents, for example, who are clueless about what to buy for teenage grandkids.
The newest twist in gift cards is that non-traditional retailers — think restaurants, coffee shops and movie theaters — are aggressively selling them this year. Some restaurants, Rist says, are giving bonus gift cards to buyers who, say, spend $100 on a gift card. They get a $20 gift card to use themselves.
Rist spoke to reporters during a Friday conference call sponsored by the National Retail Federation.