NRF: More shoppers turning to holiday gift cards

Eight-in-10 (80.6%) shoppers will purchase gift cards this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation’s Gift Card Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Holiday shoppers will spend an average of $163.16 on gift cards, up 4.0% over the $156.86 they spent last year and the highest amount in the survey’s 11-year history. Total spending on gift cards will reach $29.8 billion.

Consumers will also spend more on the cards they buy: those planning to buy gift cards will spend an average $45.16 per card, up from $43.75 last year and another survey high.

Shoppers older than 65 years old will spend the most on gift cards at an average of $175.96, followed by 35-44 year olds who will spend $171.15 on average. Additionally, men will spend nearly $20 more than women on gift cards this holiday season ($171.35 versus $155.42 respectively).

Department stores (40.3%) and restaurants (34.2%) will be the top choices for those giving gift cards.

Additionally, 20.1% will purchase gift cards from an electronic store and 12.7% will head to an online merchant. With gas prices hovering around $3.19, some may see relief at the pump this holiday season from their friends or family members.

According to the survey, 12% of shoppers will buy gift cards from gas stations, up from 11% last year and the highest amount seen in five years.