Declines in Gift Cards, Self-Splurges Hurt Retailers

By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 10, 2008 4:57 PM CST
In this 2007 file photo, last minute shoppers carry bags the day before Christmas in New York.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Naughty or nice, America’s retail stores can’t look forward to two of the holiday season’s usual boons: gift card sales and “self-gifting” splurges, MarketWatch reports. About 44% of shoppers say they will not buy gift cards this year, up from 26% last year, a marketing study says. Meanwhile, people are being stingy with themselves as they shop for others.

Self-gifting this year is down to 30.7% from 55% a decade ago, the survey by America’s Research Group and UBS found. Traditionally, gift cards provide a windfall for retailers: They draw recipients into stores and often result in extra spending. The cards brought in $26 billion in sales last year.