November 07, 2005

Planning To Re-Gift This Holiday Season?

RIVERWOODS, Ill., Nov. 7, 2005 – As consumers gear up for another season of frantic holiday gift-buying, a new survey gives shoppers hope: They have a better than 50 percent chance their gift won't be returned.

In fact, nearly half of Americans surveyed by Discover® Card – 46 percent – say they never return gifts, and another 46 percent say they only return gifts “every once in a while.” Those statistics compare with three percent of consumers surveyed who claim they return “most” gifts. Time may play a role, as those returning gifts spend from one to three hours returning them after the holidays.

Re-gifters Beware!
In another finding, the survey indicates that re-gifting – giving someone else a gift you received – horrifies most Americans (57%). Five percent say that for every original gift, they re-gift another, and four percent say they re-gift as often as possible. Two percent contend they love re-gifting and do it all the time. Another 20 percent say they give more original gifts than re-gift.

Men vs. Women
The survey also reveals that a staggering 86 percent of men do their holiday shopping by themselves. However, men are still more likely than women to make their spouse or partner do all of the shopping. Only three percent of women make their husband or partner do the same. As for online holiday shopping, 32 percent of survey respondents say they use the Internet, with the percentage nearly the same for men and for women.

The Gift They Really Want…and Use
According to the research, consumers think gift cards, which have grown increasingly popular in recent years, make good gifts, with eight-in-10 Americans saying they would be “thrilled” or “pleased” to receive a gift card they can use anywhere. And by a 7-to-3 margin, Americans prefer getting a gift card they can use anywhere rather than a store-specific gift card.

The Discover Card survey also finds that 85 percent of consumers use gift cards to buy something special for themselves or to go out to dinner, while those who receive cash are more apt to pay bills with that money.

“Whether you're a last-minute shopper – like a lot of us are – or you look for gifts throughout the year, gift cards help avoid the long return lines and re-gifting so many consumers want to avoid,” said Margo Georgiadis, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Discover Financial Services. “Plus, it's an easy and convenient way to buy gifts for people on your holiday list, while giving them the opportunity to select something they really want.”

Last-Minute Shoppers
In a related finding, the survey shows that 39 percent of men and 21 percent of women wait until the week or night before the holiday to purchase their gifts. As a result, six-in-10 Americans consider gift cards a top option for last-minute holiday shopping, because they are easy to buy, you can secure them at the last minute and universal cards can be used nearly everywhere.

Long Distance Giving – Cash or Card?
Of Americans who ship gifts to friends and relatives, 35 percent report they purchase a gift card for such gift giving, exceeding the 29 percent who send a check or cash.

Among other survey findings about gift-card giving:
  • 45 percent of Americans find gift cards good to give people who are difficult to shop for.

  • One-in-five Americans consider people who give gift cards “thoughtful” because they “want you to pick a gift you want or need.”

The survey was conducted for Discover Financial Services by Opinion Research Corporation with a representative sample of 1,000 adults, 48 percent male and 52 percent female. The survey has a margin of error of +/-3 percent.

About Discover Financial Services
Discover Financial Services LLC, a business unit of Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MWD), operates the Discover Card with more than 50 million Cardmembers, the Discover Network with more than 4 million merchant and cash access locations and the PULSE ATM/Debit network currently serving more than 4,000 banks, credit unions and savings institutions. For more information, visit,, or