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Consumers Back in the Practice of Gift Giving this Graduation Season, According to NRF

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For Immediate Release
Kathy Grannis (202)783-7971 or grannisk@nrf.com 

Consumers Back in the Practice of Gift Giving this Graduation Season,
According to NRF

Washington, May 19, 2010 – There’s no question that graduates the last few years have had it rough when it comes to job hunting, but this year family and friends will soften the blow of the real world by giving graduates cash, gift cards and even electronics or apparel. NRF’s 2010 Graduation Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGresearch, found fewer people will buy graduation gifts (31.4% vs. 32.5% in 2009) but each gift giver will spend slightly more. 

According to the survey, gift givers this year will buy for an average of two graduates, spending an average of $89.95 on gifts, up slightly from $88.01 last year. Total graduation spending is expected to reach $3.9 billion.* 

Practicality ruled in recent years as consumers opted to give cash, allowing graduates to purchase whatever they wanted or needed. This year, however, those giving graduation gifts will once again invest in apparel (11.4% vs. 9.9% in 2009) and electronics (10.6% vs. 9.0% in 2009). However, cash will still be the most popular gift option (58.3% vs. 58.9% last year), and more people (31.6% vs. 29.4% last year) will also give gift cards this year. 

“The appeal of tangible gifts will never fade, but cash and gift cards are often a welcome present for graduates,” said Matt Shay, President and CEO, NRF. “Many young adults, who are impacted by a lack of summer employment options or struggling to find an entry-level job out of college, realize that monetary gifts offer the flexibility to buy everything from college textbooks to furniture for their first apartment.” 

The survey also found that gift-giving among young adults is far different than other age groups. Young adults are more likely than others to give apparel for graduation (24.9%), compared to 11.4 percent of all adults over 18. Young adults are also far less likely to give cash, with 49.0 percent of 18-24 year-olds giving cash compared with 58.3 percent of all adults.

“Young adults, who may be graduating themselves, want to acknowledge special events in their friends’ lives with gifts but are spending on a budget,” said Phil Rist, Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, BIGresearch. “Many young people buying graduation gifts will opt for greeting cards, college apparel or other inexpensive items to say congratulations.”  

About the Survey 

NRF’s 2010 Graduation Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted for NRF by BIGresearch, was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to graduation. The poll of 8,431 consumers was conducted from May 4-12, 2009. 

BIGresearch is a consumer market intelligence firm that provides unique consumer insights that are gathered online utilizing very large sample sizes. BIGresearch’s syndicated Consumer Intentions and Actions survey monitors the pulse of more than 8,000 consumers each month to empower its clients with unique insights for identifying opportunities in a fragmented and changing marketplace. 

As the world's largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, the National Retail Federation's global membership includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution as well as chain restaurants and industry partners from the U.S. and more than 45 countries abroad.  In the U.S., NRF represents the breadth and diversity of an industry with more than 1.6 million American companies that employ nearly 25 million workers and generated 2009 sales of $2.3 trillion. www.nrf.com.  


*Total spending is an extrapolation of US population 18+