STAMFORD, Conn. -- A survey of consumer intent has signaled that this year's holiday season could see a rare dip in the demand for gift cards among consumers.
Archstone Consulting, a management consultancy, coordinated the nationwide survey of 1000 consumers which found consumers planning to shift their card purchases toward necessities like groceries and gas or "small indulgences" such as dining out.
"Archstone Consulting expects gift card sales to dip 5% to $25 billion in Holiday 2008 as consumers continue to manage the challenges of higher gas prices, higher food prices and a sluggish economy," commented Dave Sievers, principal and the consumer products and retail practice lead at the firm. "While our survey found that only 24% of consumers plan to increase their spending on gift cards in 2008, potential retail bankruptcies and the potential loss of card value are not factors."The survey found that prepaid cards that carry the big brands of Visa, MasterCard, and American Express will retain their popularity in consumers, though the survey also found that retailers can still get in the market through the use of incentive programs for card purchases.