It shouldn't be much of a surprise that as Zero Hour approaches for holiday shoppers, the "have run out of time to think of anything clever" giftcard gift will suddenly dominate purchaser thoughts. The latest Web traffic figures from Hitwise--released on Tuesday--showed gift card searches soared 109 percent compared with the prior week. The top giftcard searches were, in sequence, Visa giftcard, AmericanExpress giftcard, iTunes giftcard, Rite Aid giftcard, the Simon Mall giftcard, the Citizen's Bank giftcard, AAA Visa giftcard, MasterCard giftcards, Discover giftcard and the Home Depot giftcard.
A Hitwise statement attributed to GM Bill Tancer said "branded credit and charge gift cards dominated top searches as gift givers opted for the most flexibility for their gift recipients." It's more likely they dominated the searches because advertising made them top-of-mind for desperate consumers.
One other interesting detail from the Hitwise research were the top search terms (in the U.S., at least) that sent consumers to key retail sites: For eBay, that term was "iPod." (Maybe there's an afinity between brands that have this psychotic first lower-case and second upper-case lettering.) For Wal-Mart and BestBuy (and, for what it's worth, Craig's List), it's Nintendo. For Target, the magic word has been Ugg boots and for Amazon, it's Heelys.