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2 Characteristics of Gift Giving

2 Characteristics of Gift Giving

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unchanged from the prior year. Seventy-seven percent (77%) gave a gift card during

the year.

The Gift Card Spending Survey, by the National Retail Federation, reported

spending on gift cards for the 2015 Christmas holiday season were $25.9 billion.

Among those purchasing gift cards, average spending was $153.08, an 11.3% drop

from the prior year.

When asked in the 2015 survey by the NRF the reasons they were giving gift

cards, responses were as follows:

• Gift cards allow the recipient to select their own gift:


• Gift cards are easier and faster to buy than traditional gifts:


• It is easier to mail/ship a gift card to out-of-town recipients:


A survey by Bizrate Insights (www.bizrateinsights.com) found that 61% of adults

hoped to receive a gift card during the 2015 holiday season; 46% planned to give one.

By generation, the percentages were as follows:

Hope to Receive


Generation Xers:

Baby Boomers:






Plan to Give





Not only are gift cards used as gifts for all occasions, they are also used to

transfer money. Parents and family gave $2.9 billion worth of gift cards to students for

back-to-college in 2015, according to the National Retail Federation.

CardHub (www.cardhub.com) estimates that some $44 billion in unredeemed

gift-card value has been accumulating since 2008.

34.4 Responsible Gift Giving

The Responsible Giving Survey, conducted by Ketchum Global Research

Network (www.ketchum.com), studied the intent behind giving and examined how

attitudes and culture shape gifting decisions and shopping habits. The survey found

that 78% of adults give gifts during the holiday season because they want to and not

out of a sense of obligation.

The following are other findings of the survey:

• Eighty-one percent (81%) of adults appreciate charitable donations given on their

behalf in lieu of a gift; 74% would volunteer their time to charity as a gift if they

thought others would value this type of responsible giving.

• Fifty-nine percent (59%) of adults prepare alternative gifts such as homemade gifts

and make donations of time or money to charities during the holiday season.

• Forty-nine percent (49%) of married men say their spouse takes full responsibility for

purchasing holiday gifts; 75% of married women say they take full responsibility for

purchasing holiday gifts.


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Thirty-three percent (33%) of married men say they and their spouse share the

responsibility of purchasing holiday gifts, but only 20% of married women say the


Forty percent (40%) say that giving a homemade gift is better than giving a storebought gift.

Parents are more likely than adults without children to say they will make gifts rather

than purchase some gifts (40% of parents vs. 29% of non-parents).

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of those employed gave a gift to coworkers; 42% gave

their boss a gift.

Women are more likely than men to give a holiday gift or tip to people at work.

Older adults ages 65 and above are more likely than adults overall to give a holiday

gift or tip to people whose services they employ, such as a hairstylist (59% vs. 41%

overall), a gardener or housekeeper (57% vs. 41% overall), or a mail or newspaper

carrier (54% vs. 40% overall).

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of adults say that they have never re-gifted, though a

similar number of adults say that re-gifting is socially acceptable. Among those who

say that re-gifting is not socially acceptable, 22% admit that despite that belief, they

have re-gifted.

The majority of adults agree that it’s important to set an agreed-upon spending

limit for gifts between family members or friends. Half agree that you should consider

how much someone else can afford to spend when purchasing a gift for them.

Thirty percent (30%) of adults think someone is being irresponsible if they do not

send a note of thanks for a gift. Older adults ages 50 and above are more likely than

younger adults ages 18-to-29 to agree that someone is being irresponsible if they do

not send a note of thanks for a gift (44% of older adults vs. 20% of younger adults).

34.5 Wedding Gift Giving

A survey by Claria Corporation (www.claria.com) reported that 75% of adults

attend one to three weddings each year. Eighty percent (80%) buy gifts from the bride

and groom’s registry; 34% purchase wedding gifts through online retail channels.

Sixty-five percent (65%) typically buy gifts for all couples who invite them to a

wedding, 30% only purchase gifts for weddings they attend. Sixty percent (60%) of

respondents reported spending $26 to $75 for a wedding gift.

Ninety-four percent (94%) of engaged couples are registered.

34.6 Graduation Gift Giving

According to the National Retail Federation, 30% of consumers purchase a

graduation gift, spending collectively approximately $4 billion each year. The average

consumer buying graduation gifts gives to two graduates and spends an average of $90

on gifts.


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Fifty-nine percent (59%) of those who give graduation gifts give cash, a higher

percentage than for any other occasion. Additionally, 32% give gift cards.

34.7 Returning Gifts

The downside to gift-giving and -receiving is gifts that are unwanted. According

to a Western Union survey, 75% of Americans have pretended to like a gift they


The National Retail Federation estimates that 10% of holiday purchases are

returned. A survey by Consumer Reports found that about half of Americans include

receipts with their gifts to help with returns and exchanges. A survey by HomeGoods

found that 54% of adults had re-gifted presents; 36% had done so on several



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35.1 Participation

According to 2015 Colloquy Loyalty Census, by Colloquy (www.colloquy.com),

there are 3.3 billion loyalty memberships in the United States. The average American

household holds memberships in 29 loyalty programs spread among the retail, financial

services, travel, and various other sectors – but is active in only 12 of them. The

number of memberships by sector are as follows:


• Specialty retail:

433.5 million

• Drug store:

267.6 million

• Department store:

229.6 million

• Grocery:

169.7 million

• Mass merchant:

164.3 million

• Fuel & convenience store:

24.5 million

Travel & Hospitality

• Airline:

• Hotel:

• Gaming:

• Restaurant:

• Cruise and car rental:

355.9 million

288.7 million

156.5 million

54.8 million

44.9 million


577.9 million

2015 Loyalty Report, by Bond Brand Loyalty (https://bondbrandloyalty.com),

reported that U.S. consumers participate in an average of 6.7 loyalty programs.


“Consumers have a finite capacity in terms of

the number of programs and brands with which

they can actively engage.”

2015 Loyalty Report

Bond Brand Loyalty



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Promo Magazine estimates annual spending for loyalty program development

and implementation at $2.0 billion. This figure does not include the value of program


35.2 Customer Incentives

Technology Advice (www.technologyadvice.com) found in its survey of loyalty

program members reasons for participation as follows (percentage of respondents):

• Save money:


• Receive rewards:


When asked their preference for type of program, responses were as follows:







Pulse Of The Online Shopper, published in 2015 by UPS (www.ups.com),

reported the most valuable loyalty benefits as follows (percentage of respondents):

• Free product, gift certificate, or cash back for frequent purchases:


• Product discounts:


• Free shipping:


• Exclusive access to sales, promotions, and new products:


• Low-cost one- or two-day shipping:


• Convenience or higher priority service:


• Elevated status:


• Personalization - knowing customer upon sign-on:


• Customized recommendations based on shopping preferences:


An August 2015 survey by Colloquy reported reasons that people continue to

participate in a loyalty program as follows (percentage of respondents):

• The program is easy to understand:


• Relevant rewards and offers:


• Supports lifestyle/personal preferences:


• Provides lots of ways to earn rewards faster:


• Has a smartphone app:


In a July 2015 survey by LoyaltyOne (www.loyalty.com), 62% of respondents

said they would pay to join a rewards program if their favorite retailer had a paid loyalty

program; among those ages 25-to-34, the figure was 77%.


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35.3 Effectiveness

According to Bond Brand Loyalty’s 2015 Loyalty Report, 86% of consumers feel

that loyalty programs are worth participating in. Eighty-three percent (83%) say that

programs make them more likely to continue doing business with certain companies

and 49% say they spend more with brands than before their loyalty program


In a survey by the Chief Marketing Officer Council (www.cmocouncil.org), 69% of

respondents said most of their experience with loyalty programs has been “pretty good,”

and 10% said they’ve been “very satisfied.” Half said a program membership either

“strongly motivates my repeat business or visits” (21%) or is “usually a big factor in my

decision-making” (30%). The survey also found that 32% of respondents felt that

program participation held little to no value, and 37% felt individual rewards had even

less to offer by way of value.


“Without a great experience, loyalty programs

are less valuable to customers and abandoned

early even if they promise discounts.”

eMarketer, 2/3/16


Loyalty Programs: A Cross-Industry Analysis of Usage and Effectiveness, a

report by the Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.com), provides the following

assessment of loyalty programs:

• Seventy percent (70%) of loyalty programs offer free enrollment to their customers;

16% tier their fee structure and rewards program.

• The use of loyalty programs in the financial services sector is on the rise, due in part

to the expanded range of premium reward card products designed to build loyalty

among affluent consumers. These card products provide extensive experiential

reward benefits and are often co-marketed with other luxury brands.

• Among retail and department store loyalty programs, member upgrades are the

rewards most likely to be redeemed.

• Seventy-four percent (74%) of supermarket and grocery store loyalty programs use

face-to-face interactions to invite customers into loyalty programs, making it the

most used channel in that segment.

• Sixty-five percent (65%) of hotel and restaurant loyalty programs have a proprietary

loyalty program in place, rewarding customers with their own products/services.

• Sixty-seven percent (67%) of catalog merchants offer their loyalty programs for free;

one quarter charge different membership fees depending on the level of the

program, and less than 10% charge a one-time nominal fee to customers who join.


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Among the most popular loyalty programs is Amazon Prime, which guarantees

free two-day shipping on most orders with no purchase minimum and streamed access

to tens of thousands of TV shows and movies. Money estimates that about one-half of

U.S. households have an Amazon Prime membership (Amazon does not disclose

membership numbers). Annual membership is $99. While Amazon does not release

Prime membership numbers, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners


estimated that Amazon Prime had 54 million U.S. members as of January 2016,

spending on average about $1,100 per year, compared to about $600 per year for


35.4 Sector Assessment

By sector, Bond Brand Loyalty’s 2015 Loyalty Report reported the following

percentages of members were very satisfied with loyalty programs:

• Casual dining restaurant:


• Retail:


• Entertainment:


• Quick-service restaurant:


• Consumer packaged goods:


According to WSL Strategic Retail (www.wslstrategicretail.com), loyalty programs

targeting high-income consumers see greater participation. Compared with 58% of

those with incomes below $50,000, 93% of shoppers with household incomes above

$100,000 participate in loyalty programs.

Many retailers are restructuring their loyalty programs with tiered membership

levels. By exceeding spending thresholds members achieve elite status and associated

perks. The highest reward level for Sephora’s Beauty Insider program, for example,

gives free shipping, early access to new products and sales, and VIP event invites for

shoppers who spend $1,000 or more in a year. At Nordstrom, making it into the upper

tiers requires $2,000, $5,000, or $10,000 in annual spending . At Best Buy, Premier

Silver status goes to those spending at least $2,500 in a year.


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36.1 Comparison Of Payment Methods

According to a study by Bankrate (www.bankrate.com) and Princeton Survey

Research Associates (www.psrai.com), U.S. adult consumers primarily used the

following methods for their holiday shopping in 2015:

• Debit cards:


• Credit cards:


• Cash, check, and other:


• Proximity mobile payments:


The primary reason consumers said they did not use mobile payments were as


• Not secure enough:


• Other payment methods are more convenient:


• Don’t know how to use:


• Do not own a phone that allows them:


• Favorite stores do not accept them:


• Other:


36.2 Credit and Debit Cards

According to The Nilson Report (www.nilsonreport.com), spending for goods and

services on American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa brand consumer and

commercial credit, debit, and prepaid cards issued in the U.S. generated $4.79 trillion in

purchase volume in 2015, up 7.8% from 2014. Credit cards accounted for 59% of

spending in 2015 compared to 41% for debit cards.

Payment card purchase volume in the U.S. in 2015 was as follows (change from

previous year in parenthesis):

• Visa debit cards:

$1.374 trillion (7.9%)

• Visa credit cards:

$1.344 trillion (10.8%)

• American Express:

$ 717 billion (4.8%)

• MasterCard credit cards:

$ 653 billion (7.4%)

• MasterCard debit cards:

$ 580 billion (8.0%)

• Discover:

$ 118 billion (-6.9%)


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Merchants paid $71 billion in fees to have payments processed in 2015.

36.3 How Americans Pay Their Bills

According Javelin Strategy & Research (www.javelinstrategy.com), Americans

made $3.5 trillion in payments for seven common types of bills in 2015. Methods used

for bill payment were as follows:

• Financial institution online:


• Biller online:


• Check payment by mail:


• Biller mobile:


• Financial institution mobile:


• Walk-in location:


• Call-in:


• Third-party bill-pay service:


• Other:


36.4 Point-Of-Sale Payments

Traditional paper-based payments (cash and check) have increasingly lost favor

with consumers and merchants for point-of-sale (POS) retail transactions and are

quickly being replaced by plastic cards and alternative payments. Cash POS

transactions have been, and are forecast, as follows (source: Javelin Strategy &


• 2012:

$874 billion

• 2016:

$746 billion

• 2013:

$788 billion

• 2017:

$732 billion

• 2014:

$775 billion

• 2018:

$717 billion

• 2015:

$760 billion

• 2019:

$711 billion


“For many years, cash and paper checks

dominated consumers’ wallets, with consumers

using cash for smaller dollar-value transactions

and selecting checks for big-ticket items. This

trend has taken a dramatic turn, as consumers

increasingly abandoned their traditional paperbased payments for card payments. ”

Javelin Strategy & Research, 5/21/16



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