by Alex Palmer | June 07, 2016
As the variety of gift cards and methods for using them continue to expand, large majorities of consumers expressed positive attitudes toward gift cards in a new survey. 

The findings come from Blackhawk Network's "How America Pays in 2016" report, which drew on the online responses of 1,037 Americans over the age of 18. It found that almost three-quarters (74 percent) of respondents hope to receive gift cards this year, while 84 percent plan to purchase the same amount or more of the gift cards they purchased this year as they did in the past 12 months.

"Shoppers' love for gift cards remains," the report stated, noting that e-gift cards "complement plastic gift cars," with 69 percent of respondents saying they are familiar with e-gift cards, and a slight majority (51 percent) saying that they purchased e-gift cards and plan to purchase them in the coming year.

Speaking of electronic tools, the survey finds consumers are embracing -- or are at least curious about -- a number of burgeoning payment methods. While just 19 percent of respondents say they have used gift-card exchanges, more than half (54 percent) expressed interest in learning more about them. Additionally, 40 percent wanted to learn more about gift-card exchange mobile apps.  

When it comes to consumer promotion and loyalty program rewards, 45 percent of shoppers prefer rewards in the form of prepaid debit cards and gift cards, more than any other option, including PayPal, checks, or merchandise. 

Another interesting fact is that fully 44 percent of respondents say they plan to purchase gift cards for their own use this year, the survey found.