Prepaid Gift Cards Expected to be the #1 Gift (Again) This Year

The Nielson Company recently published their annual holiday spending forecast. Prepaid gift cards are expected to be the top holiday gift for the 2009 holiday season (as they were last year). Consumers are expected to continue to be tight with their spending this year, and gift cards are perceived as a smart way to spend and give.

Nielson found that 42 percent of U.S. consumers expect to spend less this holiday season. Overall, Nielsen is projecting that holiday sales will rise 0.03 percent this year, accounting for $90 billion in dollar sales.

“Given everything the consumer has absorbed over the past 12 to 18 months, the fact that we expect this coming holiday season to be flat in dollars can be viewed as a modest positive,” said James Russo, Vice President, Global Consumer Insights at The Nielsen Company. “Americans have undergone a fundamental change in how they spend their money, and the days of stretching finances to make purchases not deemed as necessary are over, at least for the time being. That said, our research has shown that consumers are looking forward to loosening their purse strings a bit, but only once they feel more confident about the state of the economy and their personal financial situation.”

Read more about Nielson’s 2009 Spending Survey here.  In a related article, bNet has a great interview with Teri Llach of the Blackhawk Network about their view of prepaid gift card retail sales.

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