NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Giving and receiving physical gifts could be on their way out, as gift cards in other forms continue to gain in popularity.
Consumers are eschewing the long-held tradition of buying and receiving gifts and simply resorting to gift cards. The market for gift cards has grown exponentially with 62% of shoppers who said they would like to receive a gift card, the eighth year this item was requested as a present, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation, the Washington, D.C.-based retail trade group.
Despite the surge in popularity of gift cards, consumers are still in a conundrum and 30% feel too guilty asking for them, according to a survey by CashStar, the Portland, Maine digital gift card company. The top two reasons are apparent - 62% of people don’t like to ask for anything while 61% feel that requesting one is akin to asking for cash.
Shoppers no longer feel guilty in purchasing what was often viewed as a highly impersonal item designated mainly for acquaintances. The NRF said the average person buying gift cards will spend $172.74 this year, up from $163.16 in 2013, bringing the national total to reach $31.74 billion. Shoppers will spend an average of $47.87 per card, up from $45.16 last year. Total spending on gift cards has increased 83% since the NRF began tracking consumers’ intentions to buy gift cards as holiday gifts in 2003.