Two-thirds of American teenagers have purchased one or more gift cards during the last 12 months, with the majority reporting year-round gift card purchasing; not just during winter holidays, according to a survey released of 1,600 college-bound teens. Commissioned by Stored Value Systems, Inc. (SVS), a leading national gift card supplier and transaction processor, and conducted by the Center for Teen Insight (CTI), the study also reveals more than 90 percent of teens have received a gift card. SVS is a subsidiary of Comdata Corporation which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Ceridian Corporation (NYSE: CEN).
According to the survey, teens appear to be generous: almost two-thirds of teens spend up to 20 percent of their disposable income on gifts. And they like gift cards. More than 80 percent saw the cards as a gift of first choice, not a fall-back item if nothing else could be found. The most popular average gift card values are between $10 and $24, and $25 to $49.
“Teen gift card purchasing frequency is almost identical to what we found for adults in a similar study we conducted last fall,” Bob Skiba, SVS executive vice president and general manager, said. “However, teens receive gift cards at much, much higher levels. About one-third of adults say they have never received a gift card while only about 10 percent of teens have never received one. In some teen subgroups, the percentage of teens receiving cards is almost 100 percent. They’re obviously very popular gift among this age group.”
Birthdays are overwhelmingly cited as the most popular giving occasion for teens, which mirrors adult gift card purchasing behavior. However, while the second most popular occasion for adults is the winter holidays, teens cited anniversaries as the second most popular occasion to use gift cards.
“The study shows that, to teens, anniversaries are often relationship events such as one month of dating,” said Evan Evans of the Center for Teen Insight. “These events merit gift giving and that represents a number of unique retailing opportunities.”
Apparel and music retailers were the preferred retail categories where teens purchase gift cards (nearly 70 percent of purchases). Retailers selling electronics and books, restaurants, video rental chains and movie theatres were reported as the second most frequented places for teens to buy gift cards for friends and family.
Among other key findings from the survey:
— 75 percent of teenagers report spending more than the face value of the gift card; this compares to 79 percent of adults who say they usually spend something more than the card’s value.
— Approximately 75 percent of surveyed college-bound teens indicate they plan to use gift cards for purchasing necessities once they reach campus.
— Like adults surveyed, presentation matters, with more than 60 percent of teen respondents indicating that the appearance and having a choice of gift card designs is important in their purchase decision.
— Gender plays no factor in the number of gift cards received, with 88 percent of boys and 89 percent of girls reporting having received at least one gift card during the last 12 months.
The survey was conducted via Internet in March, 2004. The adult survey was conducted by phone last October.
About Stored Value Systems
Since introducing the first-ever magnetic-striped retail gift card to shoppers in 1995, Stored Value Systems, Inc. (SVS) is one of the world’s leading providers of electronic gift cards and other card-based transaction programs. International retailers rely on SVS to create customer loyalty, increase sales and strengthen their competitive position in the retailer marketplace. Headquartered in the United States, SVS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Comdata(R) Corporation. For more information, visit [www.storedvalue.com].
About Comdata Corporation
Comdata(R) Corporation ([www.comdata.com]) is redefining the movement of money and information through technology for businesses, their customers and employees. A leading provider of transaction and payment services, Comdata provides credit and debit processing and reporting for commercial fleets and merchants, electronic cash, gift and smart/chip card programs for retailers and governmental agencies, Comchek(R) eCash payroll services for food, retail and other service industries, and point-of-sale equipment, software and auxiliary services for merchants and convenience stores. Headquartered in Brentwood, Tenn., Comdata employs more than 1,500 people internationally. Comdata is a wholly owned subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Ceridian Corporation (NYSE: CEN).
About the Center for Teen Insight
The Center for Teen Insight helps its clients answer specific questions, as well as understand changes in teen behavior or attitudes. CTI is a division of the College Resource Group, which, in addition to providing teen research capabilities, is a training and consulting resource for institutions of higher education. The College Resource Group is an affiliate of the National Research Center for College & University Admissions. For more information, visit [www.collegeresourcegroup.com].