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4 September 2014 | beautystorebusiness.com Marc Birenbaum Executive Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Editor's Note AS WE HEAD TOWARD THE UPCOM- ing 2014 holiday season, an excellent reminder about retailers—including those in beauty—using gift cards recently came to my attention via the six-year-old, Washington, D.C.-based Retail Gift Card Association: Americans love giving and receiving gift cards—and they are always in demand and present retailers with sig- nificant incremental sales opportunities, according to new consumer research from the RGCA released in July. The associa- tion's mission is to protect, promote and enhance the use of retail gift cards. The RGCA (thergca.org, email@example.com, 202.591.2454) surveyed more than 1,100 adult U.S. consumers on their use of gift cards, preferences for giving and spend- ing the cards, as well as their willingness to embrace new gifting options such as e-codes—which are digital gift cards that can be purchased online or through a mobile app. The online survey was conducted in spring 2014. Key findings include: • Gift cards are extremely popular. Seventy-seven percent of consumers have given a gift card in the past year, and 90% have received at least one in the past year. • Gift cards are always in demand. Most consumers don't require a sale or a promotion to purchase a gift card. • Consumers value choice. The No. 1 reason shoppers like to give or receive gift cards is that they allow end users to purchase what they want. • Gift cards are great for group gifts. Sixty-five percent of consumers prefer the convenience of gift cards when giving a gift from a group. • Shoppers are savvy when redeeming gift cards. Seventy-four percent of shop- pers will wait for a sale or a promotion before redeeming their cards. • Mobile and e-code gifts are still emerging. Fifty-four percent of consum- ers haven't heard of mobile gift cards or e-codes, and only 17% of shoppers are "very comfortable" using them. However, 62% of respondents who choose mobile/ e-code gift cards do so when they need to get it there right away. • There's a significant benefit to retailers. Gift cards get shoppers in the door to purchase more; 72% do some shopping for themselves when going to a brick-and-mortar store or a website to purchase a gift card. Also, gift cards increase sales during redemption; 45% of shoppers will spend more than the value of the gift card when they redeem. Other data I've noted: $25 is the most popular gift-card denomination; and 70% say they want choices for how the cards they purchase are packaged. "Convenience and choice make gift cards extremely popular among consumers," says Mary Donovan, executive director of the RGCA. "Although mobile gift cards and e-codes are not widely used by consum- ers, we anticipate that the adoption of these technologies will continue to rise into the future." ■ "Convenience and choice make gift cards extremely popular among consumers," says the RGCA's Mary Donovan. Don't Forget Those Beauty Gift Cards!