Report: Gift Card Sales To Hit Record-Breaking High

Sales of gift cards in the U.S. will top $118 billion this year, an 8 percent increase from 2012 and the highest number on record, according to the Corporate Executive Board's annual CEB TowerGroup research study.

Data from the report suggests that the growth of e-gifting, or consumers sending electronic gift cards online, has guided the rapid growth of retailers' gift card business. This trend is predicted to fuel the continued rise of gift card spending to $140 billion in sales by 2016.

The survey found that over the past year, open network branded cards grew from $41 billion to $44 billion, retailer card volume grew from $36 billion to $39 billion, and restaurant and miscellaneous segments held flat at $19 billion and $13 billion, respectively.

A separate NRF survey also found that customers are planning to purchase a record number of gift cards this year compared to years past. Eight in 10 shoppers said they plan to spend an average of $163.16 collectively on gift cards during the holiday season. The total is a 4 percent increase of the $156.86 shoppers spent last year and the highest total in the survey's 11-year history. Department stores (40.3 percent) and restaurants (34.2 percent) will be the top gift card choices. Coming in third and fourth place are coffee shop and gas station cards, at 19 percent and 12 percent respectively. 

For more see:
This CEB press release

Related stories:
NRF: Consumers Getting a Head Start on Holiday Shopping, Purchasing More Gift Cards
Google Says Start The Holiday Shopping Season Early Too
Surveys Battle Over Online or In-Store Shopping This Holiday Season
Weaker Holiday Sales Projected, Except for Certain Retailers
Dec. 20-24 Expected to Be Busiest Holiday Shopping Days