Gift Cards, Cash Most Popular Graduation Gifts

Small-in-size items like gift cards (35.6%) and cash (56.8%) will remain the most popular graduation gifts, while traditional favorites like apparel (10.8%) and electronics (11.6%) will be given by fewer, according to a National Retail Federation survey. In addition to gifts, many consumers also plan to give a greeting card (35.6%) to graduates.

According to NRF’s 2008 Graduation Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, Americans will spend $4.4 billion on graduation gifts this year with 32.4 percent of Americans purchasing at least one gift this year. The average consumer buying graduation gifts plans to give a gift to two graduates this year and will spend an average of $52.12 on each present.

“Graduation is a time for celebration and there is no better way to wish a graduate luck in the next chapter of their life than by giving them a leg up financially,” said NRF president and chief executive officer Tracy Mullin (pictured). “Cash or a gift card is the perfect gift for graduates who may be moving away from home, starting a new job, or heading to college in a few months.”

Parents and other family members not only support their graduate through their education, they will also spend the most on graduation gifts this year, according to the survey, conducted by consumer market intelligence firm BIGresearch. Consumers between the ages of 35-44 plan on spending more than $106.79 on gifts.