While the holiday shopping season is still a few months away, inflation, supply chain disruptions, and other economic factors are influencing early holiday gift shopping this year. That said, CivicScience surveyed U.S. adults on their intent to purchase gift cards for holiday gifts, as this type of gift could help shoppers avoid stocking issues and higher prices on in-store items. 

1. The majority of U.S. adults plan to purchase gift cards this year, with department stores being popular retailers for buying gift cards.

The data show that more than half of consumers are at least ‘somewhat likely’ to purchase gift cards for holiday gifts this year, while 1-in-10 are undecided, meaning some may opt to buy gift cards as the season gets closer (n=2,959).

Where are consumers buying gift cards the most? Department stores, like Macy’s and Kohl’s, take the lead. Thirty-eight percent of these shoppers report they’re ‘very likely’ to purchase gift cards for holiday gifts. 

Because deep discount stores are known for their low prices, it may be no surprise that they have the fewest percentage of gift card intenders (with 7% saying they’re ‘very likely’ to do so). Also to note, specialty stores have the most opportunities for creating gift card conversions as nearly one-quarter of these shoppers say they’re undecided on purchasing gift cards. 

2. Convenience is the biggest reason for purchasing gift cards, and when consumers plan to start holiday shopping varies by gift card intent.

When it comes to why consumers plan to purchase gift cards this year, almost half of potential gift card buyers say it’s because of convenience. And, nearly a quarter say it’s because of economic disruptions (higher prices on goods or supply chain issues).

When are holiday shoppers planning to buy gift cards? Consumers planning to purchase gift cards due to inflation or supply chain issues are more likely to make purchases before Thanksgiving than other respondents. Whereas those who value convenience are the most likely to wait until after Thanksgiving to start their shopping for the holiday season.

Additionally, nearly one-quarter of consumers who are buying gift cards for a recipient that is hard to shop for have already started to shop for holiday gifts.

Interested in more holiday insights? Download the CivicScience Consumer Holiday Tracker for a deep dive into the latest consumer trends of the upcoming holiday season.