Feb 26 , 2010

Research produces list of the gift cards "consumers really want "

LONDON, UK--When it comes to the gift cards that consumers want to receive, Bath and Body Works comes out as the choice of American consumers according to the Gift Card Performance Index just released by the Global Prepaid Exchange, an independent research and advisory group with offices in the US and UK. Based on a representative sample of more than 2300 American adults, the survey assessed levels of performance for gift cards received this past holiday season.

Bath and Body Works claimed the top spot, narrowly edging out Red Lobster Restaurants and iTunes. All these favorites had very high levels of satisfaction and were the cards that recipients would most recommend to others. Factors such as retailer preferences and service levels were directly related to which cards consumers chose as their favorites.

The study's principle investigator, Professor Dan Horne of Providence College in Rhode Island, was a little surprised by the findings but said the high levels of consumer performance result from an interaction between the store and the gift giver's perception of the tastes of the recipient. "If a gift card giver really thinks about the kinds of store that a recipient likes, they will certainly make the experience more rewarding," Horne noted. "Gift cards tend to be effective gifts because they show thought about the type of stores that recipients like, while still promoting a sense of autonomy and choice."

In other categories, Nordstrom was ranked the best department store gift card. The Darden Restaurant Group had two top 10 finishes with Olive Garden joining Red Lobster. The home improvement category was the highest ranked across the board with both Lowes and Home Depot breaking into the top 10 of the 75 retailers evaluated.

The Top 10 Gift Cards
1. Bath & Body Works
2. Red Lobster
3. iTunes
4. Amazon
5. Nordstrom
6. TGI Fridays
7. Lowes
8. Walgreens
9. Olive Garden
10. (tie) Home Depot
10. (tie) Outback Steak House

With offices in the UK and the US, the Global Prepaid Exchange is an independent organization that helps its members better understand today's complex economic environment by providing research and advisory services. Its membership is involved in issuing, processing, manufacturing or distributing in 75% of the world's prepaid programs and includes American Express, MasterCard, First Data, Incomm, Bryan Cave, CPI Card Group, IGH Solutions, Ceridian Stored Value Solutions, Serverside, and Blackhawk Network among others.



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