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WASHINGTON -- With gift cards ranking third on consumers' wish lists this year, there is no sign that the popularity of the products is slowing down, according to the findings of the latest National Retail Federation (NRF) survey. The third annual NRF Gift Card Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, found that gift card sales will total $18.48 billion this holiday season, a 6.6 percent increase over 2004, when holiday gift card sales hit $17.34 billion. The average consumer will spend $88.03 on gift cards this holiday season, 15.6 percent of their holiday gift budget.
"Gift cards present a win-win situation for both consumers and retailers," said Tracy Mullin, NRF president and c.e.o. "Gift cards take the guesswork out of giving and since they take up minimal shelf space, they are easy for retailers to stock and display."
With their popularity at an all-time high, gift cards have made an appearance on the lists of both gift givers and receivers. More than two-thirds (75.5 percent) of consumers polled said that they plan on purchasing at least one gift card, and more than half (52.3 percent) of consumers would like to receive gift cards this holiday season.