65% of Americans would prefer to receive $100 in cash, instead of a specific present or a gift card of the same value. This result is up nine points from Western Union’s first survey, fielded in mid-September 2008. 53% of those who would prefer cash would use that money on basic living expenses such as gas, groceries and bills. Only 14% would spend it on a treat for themselves. 79% of Americans believe cash is a good gift because people can use it to get what they really want. There has been a dramatic drop in the number of respondents who plan to give gift cards for services such as a manicure or a pre-paid phone card. Two months ago that figure was 40%, but now the number is 30%.
62% of those with household incomes of less than $50,000 are likely to give cash. 53% of those with more than $50,000 in household income are likely to give cash. 65% of Americans said they often end up spending more on gifts than they had planned to spend.