by Deanna Ting | May 21, 2014
Gifts cards to department stores, online marketplaces, restaurants, and home improvement stores are tops during the spring and summer season, thanks to holidays and occasions that include Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduations, and weddings says a new survey from the Retail Gift Card Association (RGCA). This season, more than two-thirds of U.S. shoppers plan to buy gift cards, according to the more than 1,100 American consumers surveyed by the RGCA.

Other key survey findings include the following:

·  A full 100 percent of survey respondents have used a retail gift card in the last year. Seventy-seven percent have given a gift card in the last year, and more than two thirds plan to give one as a gift in the next three months.

· More than two thirds of consumers would buy a gift card for their mothers on Mother’s Day. 21% will choose gift cards to a restaurant, while 19% will give cards for either spa and leisure or department stores.

· Gift cards are a very popular gift for graduates, with the overwhelming number of shoppers gifting graduates selecting cards from online marketplaces (45 percent). Fuel cards are also popular for this younger demographic (21 percent) as are cards for department stores (13 percent).

· Of those surveyed, 79 percent  would give a retail gift card as a wedding gift. Department store gift cards are the top choice (26 percent) followed closely by online marketplaces (20 percent). Home improvement gift cards will also be popular this year (13 percent) for wedding presents. Additionally, 65 percent of consumers would prefer to give a gift card when giving a gift from a group.

· The most popular gift card for Father’s Day are those from home improvement stores, with 23 percent of shoppers selecting this option in the RGCA survey. Restaurants (19 percent) and online marketplaces (10 percent) wwere also popular choices.

· Eighty-five percent of shoppers would select a gift card for a teacher present. This year, the most popular types are restaurant (29 percent), and online marketplaces (25 percent).

· The most popular gift card denomination to be given over the next three months is $25, with 44 percent of consumers indicating this is the average amount they will load on each card. Twenty-four percent intend to give $50 denominations and 6 percent plan to gift $100.
“Our survey showed that gift cards remain popular choices for two key reasons: gift givers can be assured recipients will be able to purchase what they want, and the cards are convenient for recipients since they can be spent in-store, online or on their mobile phones,” said Mary Donovan, executive drector of the RGCA. “Consumers have a lot of options, but they’re confident that gift cards deliver. With more than two-thirds of Americans planning to give gift cards this season, it would be wise for retailers to ramp up their card marketing efforts for the spring and summer gifting months.”
The RGCA spring and summer gift card study was conducted via an online survey during April and May 2014, with more than 1,100 adult respondents.