Though the holiday season officially ended several weeks ago, retailers continue to see consumers hitting the stores to spend gift cards. According to a recent survey conducted by BIGresearch, consumers have plenty left to spend: shoppers said they had spent less than half of the value of their gift cards (37.3 percent on average) by the second week in January.
Because retailers are not able to count a gift card as a sale until the card is redeemed, companies are encouraging consumers to spend gift cards as soon as possible. Retailers also know that customers redeeming gift cards are likely to spend more than the value of the card. According to the survey, half of shoppers (50.9 percent) who have redeemed holiday gift cards said they spent additional money beyond the value of the card to purchase an item.
“January and February tend to be slow months for shopping, so retailers will be doing everything possible to bring customers into the stores to spend holiday gift cards,” National Retail Federation CEO Tracy Mullin said in a release. “It is in the retailers’ best interest to encourage recipients to spend gift cards before they become lost or misplaced.”
According to the survey, consumers spent an average of $164.81 on gift cards, up from the $146.20 they expected to spend. As a result, gift card spending during the holidays was $27.8 billion, higher than the $24.8 billion initially estimated by NRF. Men spent the most ($176.84) while young adults 18-24 spent the least ($118.12).