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Weaker holiday gift card sales

Even though more than half of shoppers will buy gift cards, sales will fall this season, according to a survey.

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By Keisha Lamothe, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Fewer shoppers who are stumped on what to buy this holiday season will turn to gift cards, a survey released Tuesday showed.

The National Retail Federation forecast that gift card sales this holiday season will total $26.3 billion, down from the actual $27.8 billion spent last year, according to two separate studies conducted by BIGresearch.

Although sales could be down from the previous year's total sales, consumers intend to spend more than the $24.8 billion they intended to spend in 2006.

This holiday season, the average shopper is forecast to spend $122.59 on gift cards, which is up from $116.51 last year.

"Many consumers pulled back on spending for themselves this year and are hoping to receive a gift card so they can purchase something they may have had their eye on for months," Tracy Mullin, NRF President and CEO said in a statement.

According to the survey, gift cards will be the one of the most popular gifts this holiday with 56.6 percent of consumers planning to buy one compared to other top selling gifts like clothing, toys and books.

Of those planning to buy a gift card, 87.7 percent of shoppers said they plan to purchase two or more gift cards.

"As consumers become more strapped for time, they are constantly looking for ways to make holiday shopping easier and less stressful," Phil Rist, Vice President of Strategy for BIGresearch said in a statement. "Gift cards allow for a faster and more convenient way to buy gifts for family and friends."  To top of page

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