Trend: More shoppers stocking up on gift cards

Trend: More shoppers stocking up on gift cards

Gift cards may be small enough to fit in a stocking, but their impact on retailers and other businesses is big.

Nearly 81 percent of shoppers recently surveyed plan to buy gift cards this holiday season, according to recent data from the National Retail Federation.

Shoppers on average expected to spend $163.16 on gift cards this year, a 4 percent increase from last year. Total spending for gift cards is expected to reach $29.8 billion.

And that spending is quite beneficial for local businesses. Last year, Keith Taylor, owner of the Java Heaven coffee stand in Yakima, shared that gift cards make up to a quarter of the stand’s sales in December.

Taylor also noted that gift cards can also draw in new customers.

Java Heaven and other coffee shops and stands in the Yakima Valley will likely see plenty of gift card customers this year: Among all those shoppers planning to buy gift cards, about 19 percent — nearly one in five — plan to buy a cup or two of coffee for family and friends.

Other popular gift card destinations include department stores (40.3 percent), restaurants (34.2 percent), electronics retailers (20.1 percent), online retailers (12.7 percent) and gas stations (12 percent).

–Are gift cards part of your holiday shopping list? Do you like getting them? Send your thoughts to @shoptalkyakima on Twitter or post on the Shop Talk Facebook page ( Mark your reports with the hashtag #yakblack13. You can also email me at

–From now until Thanksgiving Day, Season of Shopping will run daily in the Yakima Herald-Republic with bits of holiday news, trends and trivia from business reporter Mai Hoang. Extended holiday shopping coverage can be found at, and