Kids love gift cards. In fact, the majority of children ages five to 14 have received or purchased a gift card.
Four out of five parents of this age group said that they have purchased more than three gift cards for children, both their own and others, in the past year, with an average value of $29. The parents also said that their child had received at least one card, according to a new survey commissioned by Stored Value Systems (SVS), a supplier of gift cards.
Despite the cards’ likeability by kids, slightly more than 25% of parents thought they were impersonal, another 33% could not think of anything they disliked about gift cards.
Parents bought the cards at a variety of retailers, including toy, department, book, clothing and discount stores. Seven in 10 children spend gift cards within one month of receiving them, however, girls were more likely than boys to hang on to the cards for six months to one year. Girls were also more likely to spend more than the face value of the card than boys.
“We wanted to explore usage among a younger age group and thought the results were intriguing,” said Bob Skiba, SVS executive VP and general manager, in a statement. “For example, some parents said they like gift cards because they can teach a child how to budget and manage money.”
Among the other findings:
- Exposure to gift cards is significantly higher among children ages nine to 14
- There are few differences in gift card behavior between boys and girls
- On average, parents have purchased two gift cards for their own child in the past year
- Four out of five gift card purchases for children are planned, as opposed to impulse buys
- Almost three-quarters of parents say choice of designs is important
- Children like gift cards because they can shop when and where they want, parents said
- Parents think gift cards would be highly appropriate for rewards for academic and other achievements (Behind birthdays and winter holidays, 37% of respondents said this was an important reason for purchasing gift cards).
The survey queried 755 parents with children ages five to 14 or adults who have purchased a gift card for a child ages five to 14. This is the first time SVS has measured the younger age group in its annual survey of gift card usage.
In June, SVS commissioned a survey that found that 93% of Americans of high-school age had received one or more gift cards during the last 12 months. That survey also found that 67% of teens have purchased a gift card and that the majority of respondents saw the cards as the first choice for a gift as opposed to a fall-back present. About two-thirds of the teens spend up to 10% of their disposable income on gifts. (PROMO P&I, June 7)