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    Gift Cards Gain Popularity

    Study outlines gender differences in present-buying trends in teens; notes large percentage of gift cards being given in place of gifts.

    BRENTWOOD, Tenn. -- A national survey by Stored Value Systems Inc., a nationwide gift card supplier and transaction processor, revealed that 95 percent of 603 college-bound teens surveyed had purchased or received a gift card this year.

    The study also showed that nearly a third of teens surveyed bought the gift cards from "gift card malls," according to Bob Skiba, executive vice president for Stored Value Systems. Gift card malls offer numerous retailers gift cards in one location, typically at a convenience or grocery store.

    "That is a significant number when you realize that purchasing a gift card has been expanded to tens of thousands of locations with the gift card mall," he added. Of that third, the study revealed that females are 17 percent more likely than males to buy the cards from a gift card mall.

    The study also showed important differences between males and females shopping habits. While 48 percent of males will purchase a gift card rather than an item, 51 percent of those will purchase the card online. Females, on the other hand, purchase less gift cards -- 33 percent -- but only 32 percent buy them online.

    "We're seeing males wanting to avoid lines by shopping online and are more interested in being able to use a card at multiple retailers, while females are interested in getting a gift card from a specific retailer and using their gift card more quickly than males," Skiba stated.

    Teens average 4.3 gift card purchases per year, according to the study. The average amount purchased for the card is $28.

    The occasions that top the list for gift card giving include birthdays, Christmas or other winter holidays, graduations, Mother's Day, Father's Day, congratulations, thank you gifts, just for fun gifts and anniversaries.

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