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Despite Increased Popularity, Gift Card Spending to Drop January 14, 2009

Posted by jyu in Uncategorized.
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WASHINGTON, D.C — While more people than ever will be asking for gifts cards this holiday, shoppers’ price-conscious mentality will take a toll on the season’s most-requested present, according to new research from the National Retail Federation (NRF).

NRF’s sixth annual Gift Card Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, found gift card sales will fall nearly 6 percent this holiday season to $24.9 billion, down from $26.3 billion last year. Fewer people plan to purchase gift cards this year (53.5 percent vs. 56.6 percent last year) and gift card shoppers will be spending less overall on the cards ($147.33 vs. $156.24 in 2007), the research showed.

“Since gift cards never go on sale, some price-conscious shoppers will be passing up gift cards in favor of holiday bargains,” NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin said in a statement. “Retailers may need to make minor adjustments to holiday plans as fewer people may be hitting the stores in January to redeem gift cards.”

The biggest gift card spenders this year will be men, who will spend an average of $156.98 on the cards, and Americans over age 45, who will spend $168.02, the survey said.

Preliminary gift card research conducted for NRF by BIGresearch found that the main reason shoppers plan to buy fewer gift cards this holiday season is because:
— They feel the cards are impersonal (22.7 percent);
— They would rather stretch their dollar by buying merchandise on sale (10.9 percent);
— They do not want to buy a card with expiration dates or added fees (9.8 percent).

Other respondents say they simply do not know which gift card a person would want (7.7 percent), while a small number of people say that they are worried the gift recipient will lose it (3.9 percent) or that the retailer will go out of business (3.1 percent).

Though gift card spending is expected to decrease, more people than ever will be asking for the cards this holiday season. According to NRF’s first holiday spending survey, released last month, 54.9 percent of consumers would like to receive a gift card, up slightly from 53.8 percent last year. Gift cards will be the most requested gift this year, followed by books, CDs, DVDs, videos or video games, and clothing or accessories.

“Most consumers have been holding back on spending for themselves all year long and would love nothing more than receiving a gift card that would let them buy whatever they want,” stated Phil Rist, vice president of strategy for BIGresearch.

The NRF 2008 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey is designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the winter holidays. The survey, which polled 8,758 consumers, was conducted for NRF by BIGresearch between Nov. 5 and 11. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percent.

The NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution.


Walmart Research Finds Women are Becoming More Practical With Gift Card Use This Holiday Season January 14, 2009

Posted by jyu in Uncategorized.
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December 16, 2008 6:00 AM ET

Female shoppers still want gift cards for themselves and children, but have different spending plans

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Dec. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Women clearly are the shopper-in-chief for the holidays and Walmart today unveiled new research on their gift card buying and spending plans this season. One in two women shoppers said they still plan to give gift cards this season and even more said they would like to receive a gift card. Additionally, the research found gift card redemption may be shifting more from traditional “wants” to everyday “needs” including groceries. Some shoppers also will choose to re-gift the bonus gift cards they receive with select purchases this year.

Conducted this month, Walmart’s survey of female shoppers — fielded by BIGresearch — found:

    --  Nearly 70 percent of respondents would like to receive a gift card
        this holiday to select their own gift;
    --  Nearly half (48 percent) of respondents would like to have a gift card
        for groceries, in addition to restaurants, discount and department
    --  More than half of those shoppers surveyed (56 percent) plan to buy a
        gift card this year, and 18 percent plan to spend $40 to $50 on gift
    --  When asked about spending, 54 percent of gift card purchasers agree
        children and teens will spend their gift cards on electronics, but
        that adult spending would primarily go towards apparel and accessories
        (44.2 percent) and food (40.4 percent);
    --  Nearly 30 percent of those surveyed said they would consider
        re-gifting a bonus gift card they receive with a purchase.

“Gift card wish lists are more practical this year,” said DeDe Priest, Walmart senior vice president, food division. “Walmart shoppers can stretch their gift card dollars further and make purchases that work best for family and future plans, all in one place.”

Walmart’s Gift Card Offerings

Because of Walmart’s strength and offerings, a Walmart Gift Card is expected to be more sought after this holiday season. Walmart is offering consumers the opportunity to personalize their gift cards for individual recipients. In-store and online, shoppers can find up to 50 Walmart Gift Card designs including: add your own photo, a holiday “snow globe,” scratch and sniff, and even a Christmas tree card that can be decorated. Additional Walmart Gift Card offerings include a variety of branded or “themed” gift cards, such as sports and new baby, as well as cards highlighting popular electronics and toys brands. Walmart Gift Cards also have no expiration date.

Starting this week, Walmart is offering shoppers bonus gift cards with select purchases,* including:

    --  Sony Blu Ray Player ($298) -- $50 bonus Walmart Gift Card
    --  Fuji 8.1 MP Digital Camera ($89) -- $10 bonus Walmart Gift Card
    --  Select XBOX 360 video games ($59.74) -- $10 bonus Walmart Gift Card
    --  DVDs including The Dark Knight, Kung Fu Panda, Iron Man and Wall-E
        ($19.96) -- $5 bonus Walmart Gift Card

eGift Cards Another Perfect Last Minute Gift

For those who delay Christmas shopping until the last minute, eGift cards from Walmart.com can be sent any time — even Christmas morning. An eGift card is emailed to a recipient within hours of the order, and can immediately be used to shop online at Walmart.com. There are several designs from which to choose as well. More information surrounding Walmart gift cards can be found online at http://www.walmart.com.

About the Gift Card Research

BIGresearch conducted an online survey of over 300 females across the country in December 2008. All respondents had shopped at Walmart over the past three months and of those shoppers, over 25 percent shop at Walmart at least once a week.

* Prices starting Dec. 14 while supplies last. Prices listed represent the majority of Walmart stores nationwide. Some restrictions apply, void where prohibited

About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. WMT

Every week, millions of customers visit Walmart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America or log on to its online store at http://www.walmart.com. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Walmart WMT is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $296 million to local communities in the United States. More information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://www.walmartstores.com. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com.

SOURCE Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Copyright 2008 PR Newswire