If you’re not reading this, you may be out buying gift cards

Originally published by Darren Fishell on Bangor Daily News.

The Portland-based digital gift card processor CashStar said its annual survey of online shoppers revealed most gift cards are likely to fly out the door as close to the Christmas holiday as humanly possible.

Buying gift cards at StarbucksThat appears to be true for at least one of the Portland company’s corporate clients: Starbucks.

On Tuesday, Starbucks said it’s expecting to break a record for Christmas Eve gift cards sales, even as the National Retail Federation projects average holiday gift card spending will drop for the first time since 2009.

The NRF spending projection based on a survey of about 7,200 shoppers estimated that average gift card spending per shopper will drop by about $20, to $153. Still, the NRF survey pointed to gift cards as the top requested holiday gift item for the ninth year in a row.

The CashStar survey of online shoppers found that about 70 percent of gift card buyers said they’re likely to make purchases in the last one or two days before Christmas.

And perhaps as a warning, the survey found that people in the Northeast came out as most likely to lose their gift cards — about 49 percent compared with 33 percent in the Southeast. And the group most likely to lose those cards were ages 18-24.