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LOUISVILLE – A survey from a leader in the stored value card industry has indicated that more Americans than ever before this year plan to incorporate stored value cards into their holiday gift giving plans. The survey, conducted by Stored Value Systems, was based on a relatively small sample, only 300 randomly selected consumers, but it found that consumers plan to spend $248 on gift cards during this year’s holiday season, compared to $223 in 2004 and $183 in 2005. In addition, 84% of the consumers surveyed said that they planned to include gift cards in their shopping plans from the moment that they started making them, up from 69% just one year before. “The survey reinforces a trend we have seen over the last two years,” said Bob Skiba, an executive with SVS. “We continue to see a larger number of buyers who intentionally choose a gift card to ensure the recipient gets something he or she would enjoy. And the convenience factor is not far behind.” The survey found that, on average, the number of gift cards purchased in the past year has increased from 2004. Although one-half of purchasers continue to buy between one and four cards, this year purchasers were significantly more likely to say that they have purchased 11 or more cards in the past year. More than 46% of those surveyed who said they purchase gift cards for others do so because they want the recipient to get what they want with the cards or because they can’t decide what else to get. Convenience also plays a large role in the decision to purchase gift cards for others. An equal number of gift card purchases, 40%, are made for relatives outside of the purchaser’s immediate family and for friends, but surveyed consumers mentioned children, siblings, and parents as gift card recipients significantly more this year, the survey reported. Over 81% of gift cards were purchased for birthdays and 67% for winter holidays, the survey found. Purchasers have bought gift cards from an average of three different retailers in the past year, and one in 10 has purchased a gift card online. Surveyed consumers reported loading an average of $40 onto each gift card they purchase and more than eight purchasers in 10 planned from the beginning to purchase a gift card for a particular recipient, up significantly from 2004. -

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