Shoppers this holiday season plan to spend more than ever on gift cards.

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That's according to the National Retail Federation's 2012 holiday consumer spending survey, which found that 81.1 percent of shoppers will purchase at least one gift card and will spend an average of $156, the highest in the survey's 10-year history.

Nearly 60 percent say they would like to receive a gift card. Total spending on gift cards will reach $28.79 billion.

"When gift cards first emerged on the scene, a lot of people looked at them as impersonal or not enough. Presenting a small envelope or a little box with a card in it is very different than a big box with a sweater in it," said Kathy Grannis of the National Retail Federation. "But, as time has gone on, we've actually found that gift cards have become the perfect practical and personal gift. Retailers have now added services that let people add video or audio to their gift cards. There are even mobile gift cards that allow people to bring out their phone and purchase something in the store, which is a great gift."

Consumers will spend an average of $43.75 on each card they buy. As in previous years, men plan to spend significantly more on gift cards than women, shelling out about $173 compared to women who will spend nearly $142.

When it comes to the types of gift cards people plan to buy, 11.2 percent say they'll buy a gift card for an online merchant, 18 percent say they'll buy a gift card for coffee shops. Others will buy gift cards to department stores, book stores, grocery/gasoline stores and discount stores. Some shoppers, 33.3 percent, will send friends and family for a night out with restaurant gift cards.