Graduation gift giving to top $4.7 billion in 2012

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As graduates from across the country take that memorable walk to grab their diplomas, loved ones are planning to make their big day extra special this year. Families and relatives are opening their hearts and wallets a little bit more to help high school and college seniors prepare for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

According to NRF’s 2012 Graduation Survey conducted by BIGinsight, one-third of Americans will buy graduation gifts this year, a rise from 30.7% in 2011. And following a trend from this past holiday season, more consumers are turning to the gift that keeps on giving. Over one-third intend to give gift cards as their graduation gift, a 5 percentage point rise from last year. The flexibility, convenience, and ease of purchasing gift cards makes this type of gift the ideal way for consumers to show their appreciation while also letting the graduate choose the perfect gift for them. Other items such as apparel, greeting cards, cash and electronics saw a steady increase in popularity this year, as some people are looking for more ways than one to say “congratulations.”

This year’s survey also found that consumers’ average spend is continuing to rise – Americans intend to doll out $99.94 on graduation gifts this year, $9 higher than last year. Gift givers will also buy for an average of two graduates.

Total spending for 2012 graduation gifts like gift cards, apparel, greeting cards, electronics and other presents is expected to hit $4.7 billion. Although there are many more milestones to come, families are pulling out all the stops to reward the Class of 2012 for their academic achievements so far.

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