Fewer holiday shoppers purchased gift cards

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Fewer shoppers said they purchased gift cards this past holiday season compared to previous years, according to Decision Direct Research's Post-Holiday Customer Insight Survey.

The online survey from Millard Group Inc.'s marketing research division resulted in completed responses from more than 73,000 shoppers. Among the highlights was the finding that only 12% of participants indicated that they purchased a gift card during the holiday season, compared to 59% of respondents who said they purchased gift cards in both the 2005 and 2006 post-holiday surveys. According to Decision Direct Research, this indicates that shoppers preferred purchasing items that were on sale, thereby saving money, to spending the full amount on a gift card.

Other findings include that free shipping was the top promotion in getting customers to shop. Of those surveyed, 61% said free shipping influenced them to shop from a catalog and 53% said free shipping was the main motivator in getting them to shop online.

Scores for shopping a Web site with a copy of a catalog in hand have steadily decreased from 60% in 2002 to 49% in 2007, indicating online buyers are getting more comfortable with shopping on the Internet. This year, 56% of respondents indicated that they did comparison shopping before placing their order online.

Shoppers said they spent $100 less on holiday shopping in 2007 compared to 2006. Of the respondents, 47% said that they purchased for themselves, up from 24% in 2003. Buying gifts for both themselves and others decreased from 40% in 2003 to 21% in 2007 while gift purchases decreased slightly from 36% in 2003 to 32% in 2007.

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