The Best Christmas Card is a Gift Card, Shoppers Say

By Marina Hodges
December 22, 2014
Gift cards on store shelves

Pressed for time? Can’t think of the perfect gift? Want to avoid buying something that will go unused? Gift cards save the day in all of these scenarios, and more people are choosing them year after year.

Gift card spending in the U.S. has increased 83% since 2003, according to a National Retail Federation survey, with the average person buying them spending more than $170 this year. Today, we as consumers can purchase a gift card from just about any brand imaginable, so this makes total sense. At Walmart, our customers tell us that they like giving gift cards because it allows them to provide their loved ones choices – an excellent option for someone who’s hard to please.

More than 80% of adults plan to purchase at least one gift card of some kind this season, the NRF says, and we see many Walmart customers picking up several at a time, in multiple denominations and brands. While the Walmart gift card remains a popular purchase, so do Apple iTunes, Darden Restaurants, Starbucks and Xbox, four of more than 50 third-party offerings we’ve added to our assortment since 2002.

In these final few days before Christmas, gift cards are a common last-minute buy to use as stocking stuffers. So over the years, we’ve not only made them available at each register – we’ve also placed them in a centralized display at the front of the store for convenience. Even easier is shopping our gift card section on Walmart.com, where you can have one delivered directly to your recipient in less than 24 hours.

Is there anyone out there who still thinks the gift card is a thoughtless choice? Sales trends show that this is a perception that’s quickly fading away. More than 62% of shoppers the NRF surveyed said they’d like to receive a gift card, and Walmart customers typically redeem gift cards that were purchased during the holiday season quickly – the majority of those are spent by Jan. 31.

Clearly, the freedom and fun that come with a gift card make it the perfect present for many of us. But you can make it even more enjoyable through presentation. You’ll find uniquely shaped tins and other ready-to-go wrapping choices on our gift card display, and if you want to add an extra-special element of care, check out our Pinterest board with 17 crafty ways to make your purchase even prettier.