Twice as Many Americans Purchased Gift Cards in 2003 vs. 2002

Friday 21 November 2003 22:07 CET | News

Twice as many American consumers purchased a gift card in 2003 compared to the previous year, according to a national study commissioned by ValueLink, the gift and spending card service of First Data.

Forty-five percent of the adult population in the United States, an estimated 97 million people, purchased a gift card in the previous 12 months versus just 23 percent in a similar survey conducted in August 2002. The 2003 survey of 1,023 U.S. adults aged 18 or older revealed that consumer awareness of gift cards has reached 92 percent, a 13 percent increase over 2002. Nearly six in every 10 adults (59 percent) reported purchasing and/or receiving a gift card in the past year; a 22 percent increase over 2002 findings. Survey findings also indicated that consumers increased the number of cards they purchased to an average 5.6 cards per year; a one card increase over the previous year. Households with teenagers purchased nearly two cards (7.5) over the average. Overall, consumers spent an average $197 on their purchased cards in the previous year. Despite growth in awareness, use, frequency and volume of purchases, just 8 percent of consumers reported that they purchased a card for their own use during the previous year versus 12 percent in 2002. However, 60 percent of those consumers also said they had reloaded value on a previously purchased card. That action indicates a strong preference for the spending card application that continues to grow in popularity for frequently purchased services or items such as coffee beverages or fast food products, according to Larsen. While employed, college-educated women living in metro area households with at least three members continue to lead the demographic breakdown of gift card purchasers, there were interesting gender differences: Men continue to load a higher average dollar value on cards, $48 per card versus $37 per card for women; More than two-thirds of the women surveyed (68 percent) give gift cards as a primary gift versus just 57 percent of men; and Nearly three in 10 males (29 percent) choose to give a gift card as a secondary gift as well, versus just 16 percent of women. Other key research findings include: - 79 percent of consumers purchased gift cards in person at a store location. Another 6 percent made the purchase on the Internet/merchant Web site, and 4 percent via the telephone; - Compared to the average $197 spent on gift cards in the previous year, middle age purchasers, age 45-54, average $235 per year; and purchasers in the age range of 55-64 average $241 per year; - Nearly 50 percent of all purchased cards had a $20-25 value; - The growth rate for reloading gift cards has more than doubled -- 20 percent to 42 percent growth -- between 2001 and 2003; - 54 percent of consumers spend the initial value of their gift card within one month; - 61 percent of consumers spend the initial value of their gift card in their first visit; - 56 percent of consumers spend more than the initial value of their card; In addition to confirming their acceptance and use of gift cards, survey respondents provided a glimpse at the potential for continued growth by indicating a desire to purchase an average of six cards in the coming year.

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Categories: Payments & Commerce | Payments General
Countries: World
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Payments & Commerce