Visa Survey Says Smart Spending Top of Mind This Holiday Season

November 7, 2011 at 8:03 AM EST


Smart holiday spending is top of mind according to this year's Visa Gift Giving Survey commissioned by Visa Inc. (NYSE:V). 58 percent of respondents say a holiday budget will be in place before they begin shopping this season - 10 percent more than last year. When asked how their holiday budget will compare to last year, only seven percent expect to have more to spend this year, while 31 percent will have less to spend.

As consumers keep an eye on spending, 51 percent of respondents believe that giving a Visa Gift card would help them stay within their holiday budget.

Respondents are also happy to receive gift cards and would prefer them over other gifts.

  • 78 percent of survey respondents said they would rather receive a Visa Gift card than a gift card for a specific store or restaurant.
  • 59 percent of respondents would prefer to receive a Visa Gift card over a gift like clothing or an item for the home such as a picture frame or candles.

"Visa Gift cards can help shoppers keep a close eye on holiday spending, while allowing recipients to purchase what and where they want," said Lisa McFarland, head of consumer prepaid products, Visa Inc. "Putting financial control back into the consumer's hands is important during the holidays."

Gift cards put the recipient in control, giving the choice to buy something practical or indulge. When survey respondents were asked how they would use a Visa Gift card if they were to receive one this holiday season, the top three responses were:

  • To indulge in something they might not normally be able to afford, such as a special dinner, jewelry, clothing or personal electronics (61 percent).
  • To buy "life essentials" such as groceries or household products, or to pay bills (58 percent).
  • To get something they didn't receive from their holiday wish list (51 percent).

Even with the best intentions, finding the perfect gift isn't easy. According to the survey:

  • 45 percent of consumers still have at least one unopened holiday gift from last year.
  • 26 percent admitted to returning at least one gift from last year.
  • 22 percent admit to re-gifting at least one of their holiday gifts from last year.

Visa Gift cards can be used at millions of online and retail locations, giving recipients the convenience and flexibility to use the card where they want.

The data was collected in a national telephone survey examining consumers' plans, perceptions and habits relating to gift giving. For additional holiday insights, visit the Visa Holiday Website at

AboutVisa Inc.

Visa Inc (NYSE: V) is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world's most advanced processing networks--VisaNet--that is capable of handling more than 20,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit

About the Visa Gift Giving Survey

The 2011 Visa Gift Giving Survey was a telephone survey conducted among a national probability sample of 1,014 adults comprising of 502 men and 512 women 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States. Interviewing for this CARAVAN(R) Survey was completed during the period August 26-29, 2011.

SOURCE: Visa Inc

Visa Inc.
Lee Mokri, 415-932-2564