The holidays are just around the corner, and a National Retail Federation survey says that gift cards are anticipated to be the most popular gift item of the year with three out of four shoppers buying at least one.
Gift cards have gained popularity as the gift for the person who has everything. A gift card buys you everything from an i-Pad to a relaxing day at the spa. And they're expected to be at the top of America's wish list this holiday season for the fourth year in a row.
"I think people love them because they're an easy gift to give and they're super fun to get, so if you're not sure what to get someone, they're a hard person to buy for--which all of us have in our lives--it's an easy gift to give because they can pick out what they want, how they want to spend it," says Carly Anderson, an Executive Team Leader at Target in Marquette.
"It's personal for everyone and they can afford the price they want, so if they want to pick a dollar amount, they can pick a dollar amount. If they want a service amount, they can pick the service and they can determine the value of it themselves" says Kathy Hendricks of Spa of Marquette.
The National Retail Federation expects nearly $25 billion to be spent on gift cards this holiday season.
Consumers will spend more this year on each card. Last year, the average shopper spent about $39.80 on gift cards. This year they're predicted to spend $41.48.
Why are shoppers buying more gift cards? The NRF says it's because people are feeling a little more confident in passing up the pre-Christmas sales and are instead buying cards that can be used after Christmas. In other words, shoppers are looking more for value than major markdowns.
So what do local shoppers think about the cards?
"I love gift cards--I like receiving them and I like to give them. For my kids, they prefer gift cards because then they can just go and get what they really are interested in," says Barb Filizetti, a shopper.
"I would much rather open a present--even at 19 years old--I would much rather open a present then get a gift card because I never use gift cards anyway," says Daniel Sackmann, also a shopper.