Though some consumers equate giving or receiving gift cards to Grandma's fruitcake, local businesses say they are an important means to attracting new customers, satisfying demand and receiving "free money."
Sam Connelly, general manager of Mead's Corner coffee shop, at Douglas and Emporia, said gift cards are "so big during Christmas," especially among consumers who don't know what gifts to give to people.
"We are selling a whole lot more of them," Connelly said of gift cards during the holidays. "It's really good for us."
Holiday shoppers nationwide this season will buy almost $25 billion in gift cards, averaging about $40 a card.
In a National Retail Federation survey of consumers asked to choose their most desired holiday present, 55.2 percent of adults chose gift cards.
That preference has been nudging upward since 2006 as some other major categories, such as clothing and video games, have declined.
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