In November, the National Retail Federation predicted that sales of gift cards would drop by approximately 6 percent this holiday season, citing the high demand for holiday bargains and an economy that has many consumers nervous about the future of some businesses.

In November, the National Retail Federation predicted that sales of gift cards would drop by approximately 6 percent this holiday season, citing the high demand for holiday bargains and an economy that has many consumers nervous about the future of some businesses.
Business reports post-Christmas have cited many consumers who stayed away from gift cards this year. Many shoppers, including one from Kansas City, Mo., told The Associated Press that slashed prices before Christmas were incentive to buy actual presents instead of gift cards.
While many local shoppers out and about this weekend said they bought at least one gift card this year, there were a couple who said they avoided them this holiday season.
Anne Lawrence, of Pittsburg, said she typically buys gift cards for Christmas because of her large family. Not so this year, she said.
"I just stayed away from them this year," she said. "I thought prices were low enough that I could get actual presents and not have to worry about trying to pick out a store to get gift cards from. If you give a (gift) card for Christmas, you risk not taking advantage of the great sales. That was my thought process this year."
Lawrence said the economy and the reports of businesses going under across the country did play a role in her decision not to purchase gift cards.
"Well, that is a concern," she said. "You don't want to get a gift card from a store, then that store goes out of businesses. That would be just money wasted. Granted, I don't suspect any of the stores around here I would get a card from would go under, but it's just safer to buy an actual gift."
Another local shopper, Paul Bradden, said he also made it through the holiday season without buying a gift card. He said that despite the ease and convenience of gift cards, he didn't feel like this year was a good year to purchase them.
"It wasn't exactly like I planned on not buying one this year," he said. "I guess as I did my shopping I just noticed that prices were pretty reasonable and there wasn't any real reason for me to buy a gift card. I had a good idea what everybody wanted and it was all affordable. It didn't hurt that many of the stores were offering pretty good sales this year.
"As for whether I was worried about stores going out of business, I guess my answer is no," he said. "Any gift card I'm going to buy is probably going to be from Wal-Mart or a store at the mall. I don't think any of those stores are at risk of going under anytime soon."
According to the AP, store gift cards are expected to generate $61 billion in sales in the fourth quarter this year, down from $70 billion in 2007.