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The gift card craze that buoyed retailers’ Christmas and January sales is rooted in high levels of consumer satisfaction. A new study shows that consumers report good previous experiences with gift cards and predict that sales of gift cards will significantly increase during the 2007 Christmas season.
The study, sponsored by Giftex, independent gift card specialists, examined attitudes and behaviours of more than 300 randomly selected consumers. It found that more than 81 percent of study participants said they have had good experiences with gift cards. Less than 10 percent reported not having good gift card experiences.
More importantly to retailers, the survey shows that this positive attitude will translate into increases in future gift card purchases. Study respondents anticipate purchasing 36 percent more gift cards in the 2007 Christmas season. Respondents said they plan to purchase an average of 3.74 gift cards this year, up from 2.74 last holiday season. Additionally, the study shows 78.6 percent of consumers intend to buy gift cards this year, compared to 64.9 percent which purchased them this past holiday season.
“Gift cards continue to resonate with consumers because they solve a real need,” noted Professor Dan Horne, a marketing professor at Providence College, Rhode Island, USA and one of the project’s leaders. “The data in this study shows that it is not about hype, but about what works. In some cases, gift cards are great options.”
But Horne also cautioned against thinking gift cards are perfect for every occasion. “The data is very clear there are situations where gift cards are acceptable and situations where they are not viewed as favourably. They are certainly not going to replace the presents under the tree on Christmas morning.”
The study was a randomly selected mail survey conducted by Quinnipiac University in January 2007. Data was supplemented by focus groups and in-depth interviews.
With offices in the US and the UK, Giftex is the only independent company specializing in gift card information, analysis and support. Giftex works with retailers and service providers to create customer value in prepay through research, advice and networking. They publish results and insights in the monthly Giftex Research Report. Giftex also runs the Gifting Insights and Future Trends (GIFT) Network of leading businesses in the stored-value industry. Members meet regularly at global events and work collaboratively to market and innovate based on the latest research and best practices.
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