West Lafayette, Ind. Gift-card sales are forecast to hit $35 billion to $40 billion this year, according to a Purdue University retail expert.
Richard Feinberg, a researcher with the Purdue Retail Institute, said there should be a significant increase in gift-card sales for grocery stores, gas stations and superstores due to the economy.
Feinberg also noted that most gift cards, about 40% of those purchased, are for department stores. The second most popular is gift cards to restaurants, which account for 30% of sales.
Research at the institute also showed that, on average, those receiving gift cards spend about 20% more than the value of the gift card they receive.