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Graduation
Retail Trends

More Americans plan to buy gifts this graduation season

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As Americans celebrate high school and college graduations over the next few weeks, many are showering graduates with special gifts to help them embark on the next chapter in their lives, and retailers are offering a wide variety of options to help consumers give the best gifts possible.

According to NRF’s 2016 Graduation Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, the average person buying graduation gifts will spend $106.45, up 3.9 percent from last year for a total of $5.4 billion, an all-time high in the survey’s 10-year history. The average shopper is buying for two graduates, however, so each recipient can expect only about half that amount.

Total spending is expected to reach $5.4 billion in 2016.

This figure is the highest in NRF's 10-year survey history.
NRF Graduation Spending Survey 2016, conducted by Prosper Insights.

Cash will once again be the most popular gift, given by 56 percent of shoppers as they seek to help students with the transition from high school to college or college to the “real world.” Greeting cards — many with cash inside — follow at 39 percent, gift cards at 31 percent, clothing at 14 percent and electronics at 11 percent.

At 42 percent, recent graduates aged 18-24 are the most likely to give a gift to their peers or family members. The biggest spending comes from those aged 45-54 years old, at $120.74 on average, compared with $78.08 for 18-24-year-olds and $105.52 for those 65 and over.

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