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Gift card sales booming during the holidays

December 14, 2012

The 2012 holiday shopping season has been great for gift cards, with 2012 on track to top previous records and continue a growth trend projected to carry through to at least 2015.

The 2012 holiday shopping season has been great for gift cards, with 2012 on track to top previous records and continue a growth trend projected to carry through to at least 2015. CEB Tower Group estimates that $110 billion will be spent on gift cards in 2012, with the National Retail Federation estimating that holiday spending will account for almost $29 billion on its own. A recent NRF poll found that more than four-out-of-five respondents had bought at least one gift card this holiday season, with respondents spending an average of $156.86 on gift cards. GiftCardRescue.com estimates that the most in demand cards are from Wal-Mart, Target, McDonalds, Amazon.com, Home Depot, Lowes, Costco, Subway, Visa, and eBay. Starbucks, which will be offering a limited run of steel gift cards worth $450 apiece, sold 44 gift cards a minute during Black Friday and estimates that this year one-in-10 people in the U.S. will receive a Starbucks gift card this holiday season. The gift card boom also has given a boost to the secondary gift card market. An estimated $30 billion worth of unredeemed gift cards currently are in circulation, and secondary marketplaces such as Plastic Jungle enable consumers to buy them at a discount.

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