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Gift Card Sales Increasing For Holidays

Published November 25, 2007

MANCHESTER, NH (BRAIN)—Bike retailers can expect to see an increase in gift card sales this holiday season, according to the fifth annual National Retail Federation (NRF) Gift Card Survey.

The research found that overall retail gift-card sales will total $26.3 billion this holiday season, compared to $24.8 billion in 2006. Additionally, the average consumer will spend more on gift cards than they did last year ($122.59 vs. $116.51 in 2006). The survey also found that gift cards will be the one of the most popular gifts this holiday season. Nearly 57 percent of consumers plan to buy one compared to other top-selling gift items such as clothing or toys. And with popularity rising among consumers of all ages, almost 88 percent of shoppers said they will purchase at least two gift cards this holiday season.

Bike retailers are also seeing an upward trend in gift card sales, and they are becoming an increasingly important category for them during the holidays. "More than half of our annual gift card sales are during the holiday season,” said BGI owner Randy Clark, a member of The Biking Solution (TBS).

As gift card sales continue to grow, the old gift certificate is quickly becoming a retail artifact. “TBS’ gift card program brought us from paper certificates into the world of gift cards,” Clark added. “I think you are not even considered a legitimate retailer until you offer gift cards, as it's what consumers expect."

Gift cards have also become a big part of the bike retailer’s online business. "One thing that surprised me was our online gift card sales,” said Clark. “More than half of our total online sales are from gift card sales. We found that as customers move away, they are still able to purchase gifts for family members and friends from our store who are still in the area. I'm selling gift cards in several other states, where I wouldn't normally get sales."

Greg Brodsky, TBS’ managing director, sees the trend continuing for the foreseeable future. “Seventy percent of our members are actively using gift cards, and that figure continues to grow each month. It’s clearly an important category for our members, so we’ve created a number of different gift card templates to allow them to select the look that best fits their business, or we will fully customize if they prefer. The gift card category still has plenty of room for growth before it plateaus, especially in our industry.”

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