Gift cards are at the top of shopping lists
22 November 2017
Gift cards are at the top of shopping lists
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BURNSVILLE, Mn. (November 22, 2017) — Nearly one in six Iowans (15%) say they will spend more on gifts in 2017, according to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse survey. The boost in spending comes from a strong labor market, which is generating higher incomes and boosting consumer confidence. Overall, AAA has seen a 40% increase in shoppers who say they will spend more money on gifts this holiday season. 
When Will They Shop?
November is the busiest time of year for holiday shopping, according to AAA research. The majority (80%) of consumers will begin their holiday shopping before December. The top shopping days for consumers are all in November: Black Friday (52%), Cyber Monday (51%), and Thanksgiving Day (20%). The average Iowa shopper plans to spend $745 on gifts - a spending increase of 2% over last year.
 “According to our research, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are expected to be the busiest shopping days,” said Belinda Dabrowski, managing director, AAA Partnership Development, The Auto Club Group. “Gift cards and apparel will be at the top of most lists this holiday season.”
Gifts Consumers Want Under the Tree
  • Gift Cards (27%)
  • Cash (23%)
  • Clothing (11%)
  • Travel (9%)
  • Electronics (7%)
Gift cards, cash, and clothing are the top gifts people want this holiday season. The top selling gift cards are Amazon, Home Depot, and Lowes, according to AAA.
“Gift cards can take some of the stress out of holiday shopping,” said Dabrowski. “Purchasing a gift card allows the recipient to purchase items they enjoy and the savvy shopper can also enjoy some benefits as well. Many companies, including AAA, have some great perks for gift card buyers this holiday season.
Those who purchase gift cards online at the AAA Gift Card Center can earn 2 percent in AAA Dollars1, plus receive free digital personalization.
More Consumers Will Use Their Phones to Shop 
More than one in three (36%) will use their smart phone to purchase gifts this year, a 16% increase over 2016.
Online shopping continues to gain ground this holiday season as 74% of shoppers say they will do at least half of their shopping on the web.
Cyber Monday will be the second busiest shopping day of the year behind Black Friday. More than half (51%) of shoppers plan to buy gifts on the Monday after Thanksgiving, and retailers are responding. Holiday vendors, hungry for a piece of the online shopping share, are advertising on social media, and optimizing their websites and apps for mobile phones and tablets.
“Shoppers are increasingly drawn to the convenience of online shopping,” said Gail Weinholzer, Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Shopping online allows people to avoid the crowds and shop at their convenience. AAA members can find even deeper discounts and rewards opportunities by going to the AAA Dollars Online Mall at or using the new AAA Mobile app.”
How to Save on Holiday Shopping
  1. Utilize Discounts – Search for retailer coupons or join mailing e-mail lists for exclusive discounts. Savvy shoppers looking for a bargain this holiday season can utilize the benefits of membership organizations like AAA. AAA members receive instant discounts at many retail locations including Reebok Outlet Stores, LensCrafters®, and Sprint. AAA members can also earn AAA Dollars® online, on top of any online offers, at over 80 name-brand partners, including, iTunes,, Kohl’s, QVC, and Macy’s through Earned AAA Dollars® are like reward points which can be used to lower the renewal price of your AAA membership.
  2. Shop Online – Shoppers can easily compare retailers online and find the best price for the products they want to purchase. Many retailers also offer exclusive online discounts and coupons through their app or website. Shoppers can download the new AAA Mobile app to find retailers that offer additional discounts for AAA members in their area. Just visit to download.
  3. Shop your budget – Set a spending limit before you start your gift purchasing. Nearly half of consumers (47%) will use a credit card for purchases this year. If using a credit card, use one that offers rewards that can help defray the cost of gift giving. Credit cards such as the AAA Dollars Plus® Mastercard® offer 3% AAA dollars on AAA and travel purchases; 2% on grocery, gas, and drug store purchases; and 1% on other everyday purchases.2
About the AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey
The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among residents living in The Auto Club Group territory from October 10, 2017 – October 18, 2017. A total of 4,011 residents completed the survey, with 3,646 planning to purchase gifts during the 2017 holiday season. Overall results have a maximum margin of error of ± 1.6 percentage points. Iowa results have a maximum margin of error of ± 5.2 percentage points. Responses are weighted by gender and age within state to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+).
About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9.4 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 57.7 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at