By Cassie Coughlin |Staff Writer|
The popularity of gift cards is starting to decline among people receiving them, according to Business Insider.
“Americans spent $118 billion on gift cards in 2013, a number that exceeds the GDP of 136 countries,” reported Business Insider, CEB TowerGroup.
From the billions of dollars spent on gift cards in America, CEB TowerGroup found that, “$1 billion of that goes unused.”
The idea that gift cards are an undesirable gift is beginning to show. Numerous companies, such as Coinstar and CardCash, are solely dedicated to converting your unwanted gift cards into cash.
Wal-Mart and CardCash are jumping on the bandwagon and emerging with a program to trade your gift cards for a percentage of cash, according to the Verge.
Wal-Mart allows you to “exchange cards from more than 200 other stores for a Wal-mart card,” The Verge reported. “The Walmart card, notably, will be worth a fraction of the value of the original: 95 percent for Amazon, 90 percent for Staples, and down to 70 percent for other stores.”
Although, these signs may show that gift cards are starting to become as unwanted as holiday fruitcake, not everyone is quick to push them aside.
“I actually enjoy getting gift cards as gifts,” said student Carly Ruiz said. “I like that gift cards force you to look and spend from a certain place, rather then cash which sometimes leads to spending money randomly.”
A major benefit of gift cards is that they’re easy access, which is perfect for last minute gift shoppers.
“More gift card orders were placed on Dec. 24 than on any other day of the year. Christmas Day, Dec. 25, placed in the 2014 Top 10, too,” reported Apparel.
A large dislike for gift cards might be centered on the idea that they are not personal, or in other words, not a gift from the heart.
“I don’t like gift cards because I feel they are easy and don’t take a lot of effort,” said student Ryan Scott.
Essentially, a gift card is just a small card that holds a certain amount of money on it. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t be personalized.
Creative blogs and companies, such as BuzzFeed and Pinterest, have constructed artistic ways to dress up gift card giving.
BuzzFeed released an article titled “24 Cute and Clever Ways to Give a Gift Card,” which shows 24 various instructions and examples on how to make gift card holders.
Creating a holder or decorating gift cards in a creative way not only makes the card unique, but also shows the receiver you put more time into the gift.
It seems that giving gift cards could be a hit or miss, depending on the receiver.
Perhaps, this is a sign that the holiday season shouldn’t be focused on the question of whether or not to give a gift card, but on more heartwarming aspects like spending time with the people you care about and eating delicious food.
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