If you’ve ever had to purchase a gift for someone, you’ve probably experienced the frustration that it often entails when you don’t know what to get the person. “Does he like this…would she want that…?” Purchasing gift cards seems like the quick and easy solution for this common dilemma, and interestingly, this method is favored by both retailers and consumers.
Retailers enjoy gift cards because of the publicity it creates, the low usage from the receiving party, and the benefits of upsales, while consumers love that it is hassle-free, that it gives them the freedom of choosing their own gift, and that it involves fixed-budget spending. For this reason, many online sites over the past few years have begun to sell gift cards. These gift cards range widely in business and product type, including those from both small-scale, local businesses such as nail salons and restaurants, as well as gift cards from large-scale national brands such as Bloomingdale’s and Amazon which sell a variety of products including clothing, books, and household items. Most of these sites are retailers themselves, such as iTunes and Bed, Bath, and Beyond that offer the gift card option straight from their website.
According to the National Retailers Association, the average shopper spent $156.86 on gift cards in 2012 and nearly 60% of those polled said they would like to receive gift cards from friends and family. For every $100 on a gift card, consumers typically spend $93 and this fact is not lost on retailers. In fact $2 Billion worth of gift cards went unredeemed in 2012 and since 2005 an incredible $41 Billion in gifts cards went unredeemed.
So what do you do with $3.00 left on a gift card? The only option you have are to pony up additional cash and make an additional purchase with that merchant or if you have small balances on a Visa or Mastercard Gift Card you can transfer those small balances to your Amazon Account. There are many options available to turn unused giftcards into cash or even other gift cards with sites such as CardCash.com and giftcardswapping.com. Some of these sites even have an option where you can donate a portion of your gift card balance to a charity of your choice.
Recently, there are a whole bunch of sites entering this growing industry that offer name-brand gift cards at discounted prices. Some of these sites include beezid.com and cityhits.com. At sites like these, individuals are able to purchase discounted gift cards at discounts of 50% or more. What a way to be frugal! Give your loved one (or yourself) a nice-valued gift card and pay only a fraction of the price! But don’t worry- it’ll be our little secret.
Readers: How do you feel about giving and receiving gift cards?