Unused Gift Card Economy

During the holidays billions of dollars in gift cards are received. Amazingly these cards start slipping through the cracks to never be used. How much is still lingering around:

“People are letting cash slip away that they could be using,” says John Kiernan, a senior analyst with CardHub. Kiernan, citing CardHub numbers, estimates that some $44 billion in unredeemed gift-card value has been accumulating since 2008.

Unused gift cards aren’t just free money for retailers either:

For retailers, however, gift-card sales don’t count as revenue until cards are used, meaning that retailers are holding $44 billion in liabilities against these unused cards.

NYPost also provides more information on how consumers can cash in the cards as well.

Really fascinating piece of the economy that is bigger than what one thinks.


What Percent of Christmas Gifts Get Returned


A 2013 National Retail Federation survey found that about 35% of consumers returned at least one holiday gift. On average, though, those who returned gifts took back four unwanted items for an exchange or refund. Those numbers don’t even reflect how many people received gifts they didn’t like but weren’t able to return – or simply didn’t bother to take back.

You can read here Kiplinger’s “Seven Reasons Your Gift Will Be Returned”