April 25, 2012, 3:48 PM

Many digital gift card buyers are last-minute holiday shoppers

Retailers that offer both plastic and electronic gift cards enjoy late sales.

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More than one in four digital gift cards, or 26.7%, sold during December 2011 were sold between Dec. 21 and Dec. 24, according to Giftango Corp. The company, which helps deliver gift cards via e-mail and mobile devices, based its findings on its own data.

Online shoppers buy plastic gift cards earlier. Online merchants who use Giftango technology to sell plastic gift cards via e-commerce sites experienced peak sales from about Dec. 11 to Dec. 15; the strongest day in December 2011 for such sales was Dec. 12. That’s largely because gift cards purchased from online retail sites take, on average, three to five days to reach consumers’ mailboxes.

“As a result, consumers are deterred from purchasing a plastic gift card online at the very time they are most likely to purchase a gift card,” the report says.

The report goes on to say that for retailers offering both plastic cards and digital cards on web sites, the highest sales day last December was Dec. 19. “During the five days prior to Dec. 19, the percentage of sales for merchants who offer both plastic and e-gift cards was 22.57% of the total month’s sales,” the report says.

Such major retailers as Amazon.com Inc., No 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, Sears Holdings Corp. (No. 7) and Lowe’s Cos. Inc. (No. 91) use Giftango for digital gift cards.

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