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Gift Cards Cemented Their Appeal In 2004

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Wendy Liebmann, founder and principal Candace Corlett, principal partner Experts in "How America Shops" Gift cards cemented their appeal during the 2004 holidays, reflecting society's yearning to simplify life and take some of the stress out of the season. 61 percent of shoppers purchased 5.0 gift cards for this past holiday season, the same percentage that did so in 2003, and they bought 20 percent more cards. 57 percent of gift cards were purchased for a specific place, and the balance for spending anywhere at the mall or via certificates like American Express. General mall gift cards declined significantly this year to 16 percent. Last year we predicted that the gift card would change the holiday retailscape, and it did. A new selling season has been born ­ January. More retailers this year had brand new merchandise on the floor before New Year's, ready to excite shoppers with their wallets full of newly received gift cards. Next year we predict that decorating the gift card will get very competitive. A choice of designs lets shoppers feel that they put a bit of thought into the gift. And a dressed up envelope wouldn't hurt to turn that thin card into a festive package. Cards from malls and banks (Amex/Visa) should not assume that their universal spending power is enough. They are going to have to get more creative if they expect their cards to compete with Starbucks, Old Navy and Gap. Wendy Liebmann founder and principal Methodology Based on a national Internet survey of conducted January 4 ­ 11, 2005.

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