Gift Cards Are Preferred, But There’s Guilt Involved

A new survey from Portland, ME-based CashStar reveals that a majority of consumers would prefer to receive gift cards instead of physical gifts, but many feel guilty for admitting that they want to receive them. The findings of this CashStar survey expand on the National Retail Federation’s Holiday Consumer Spending Survey, which indicates that gift cards are the most requested holiday gift item for the eighth year in a row.

According to CashStar’s survey of more than 1,100 U.S. consumers, 60 percent said gift cards to their favorite retailers, restaurants, and brands are on their wish list this year. Among 35 to 44 year-olds, nearly 70 percent said they would like to receive gift cards from their favorite, retailers, restaurants, and brands. However, 30 percent of those surveyed said they would feel guilty asking for gift cards as a holiday gift, citing some of the following reasons: they don’t like asking for anything (62 percent); it feels the same as asking for cash (61 percent); and it doesn’t feel personal enough (45 percent).

Gift givers, on the other hand, indicated that being asked for a gift card for the holidays makes shopping easy. Seventy-eight percent said their reaction would be, “Great, that’s an easy gift to buy and check off my list.” This number jumps to 87 percent among grandparents. Only 9 percent of all respondents said they would feel awkward buying a gift with a clear monetary value associated with it.