ATLANTA, Oct. 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- InComm, a leading prepaid product and payments technology company, today released its 2018 Holiday Index, which found that gift cards and in-store shopping are important and meaningful parts of the holiday experience. The survey of nearly 2,500 U.S. consumers also concluded that pairing a gift card with another item for the recipient is an increasing trend among holiday shoppers that is leading to incremental sales for retailers.
"The National Retail Federation has reported that gift cards are the number one requested gift during the holiday season for more than 10 years," said Tammy McGill, Research and Market Insights Manager at InComm. "Our study examined the other side of the gifting equation – the gift giver – to see if gift recipients could expect to get what they truly want. We also took this opportunity to ask holiday shoppers and gift recipients about their holiday plans to arm the retail industry with trends to ensure they are best positioned to meet customers' expectations this holiday season."
Gift Cards Are In Demand
When asked to select the types of gifts they plan to purchase this holiday season, consumers ranked gift cards and clothing as the most popular categories. Additionally, many consumers plan to purchase gift cards for everyone on their shopping lists, including an average of seven gift cards this holiday season for their immediate family members. Respondents also plan to purchase an average of two gift cards for friends and neighbors, two for teachers and coaches, and one gift card for a co-worker.
"The fact that such a large volume of gift cards is intended for immediate family members alone suggests that these items are not impersonal holiday gifts," said McGill. "Gift cards are a versatile option, regardless of whether the recipient is a close family member or a professional colleague."
When consumers were asked why they prefer to give gift cards during the holiday season, there was a strong correlation between how close a gift recipient is to the consumer and that consumer's ability to confidently find a gift card brand the recipient will enjoy. These gift givers' intuitions are often correct as 86 percent of survey respondents indicated that when they receive a specific gift card, it is for a brand that they like.
Gift Card Pairing Adds Meaning
The study asked consumers how they plan to give gift cards this holiday season, and 66 percent of respondents indicated they will give their gift cards in personalized greeting cards or combine the gift card with another item. An additional 12 percent indicated they will give a gift card with a homemade item.
"We're seeing gift cards evolve into a personalized gifting solution. As consumers take advantage of a gift card's versatility, they tell us that pairing it with a recipient's favorite thing or activity make gift cards ideal for "adding a personal touch," said McGill. "Holiday shoppers note that 'it is quite enjoyable to go into a store and pick out exactly what makes [them] happy' and that gift cards are more 'thoughtful' than cash."
In-Store Shopping Leads the Pack
InComm's 2018 Holiday Index found that brick-and-mortar stores will be the primary location where consumers plan to do their holiday shopping. Half of the survey respondents (50 percent) expect to do nearly all of their holiday shopping in a brick-and-mortar store. An additional 35.1 percent plan to do a "moderate amount" of shopping in a brick-and-mortar store. Only 1.3 percent will not do any in-store holiday shopping.
The report asked consumers what they like about holiday shopping in person at brick-and-mortar stores, and close to 40 percent of respondents said that the activity gets them in the holiday mood. When asked what they like most about holiday shopping, nearly 21 percent of respondents indicated the festive decorations, displays and sounds of the season found in stores.
"This response from consumers planning to do nearly all of their holiday shopping in physical stores is welcome news for retailers given the retail apocalypse narrative that has become prevalent in recent years," said McGill. "Retailers that prioritize a fun, festive atmosphere in stores will be more likely to attract shoppers looking for an experience to get them in the holiday spirit."
The InComm 2018 Holiday Index drew on responses from 2,433 U.S. consumers in a survey about their intended gift-giving habits and attitudes for the 2018 holiday shopping season.
To view the complete study, click here.
By building more value into every transaction through innovative payment technologies, InComm creates seamless and valuable commerce experiences. InComm's unique products and services – which range from gift card malls to enhanced payment platforms – connect companies across a wide range of industries including retail, healthcare, tolling & transit, incentives and financial services to an ever-expanding consumer base. With more than 25 years of experience, over 500,000 points of distribution, 366 global patents and a presence in more than 30 countries, InComm leads the prepaid and payments industry from its headquarters in Atlanta, Ga. Learn more at www.InComm.com.