Gift giving can be hard. No one wants to be the person filling up our friends’ closets with scented candles and holiday-themed lotions destined to be re-gifted a year later. We feel that gifts should be useful and appreciated—and so came into being the gift card.
Gift Cards Are Preferred
Gift cards, while sometimes regarded as a cop-out, are actually remarkably well received. According to the 2010 Visa Gift Giving Survey, a solid 65% of respondents would prefer a gift card to a “non-essential” holiday gift. An even more impressive 85% of respondents claimed that they would appreciate a gift card, whether or not it is a substitute for a non-essential gift.
The Proof In Numbers
The feeling that our well-intentioned gifts are headed to the trash isn’t just paranoia. According to the survey:
- 42% of consumers still have at least one unopened holiday gift from last year in the back of the closet.
- 38% admitted to returning at least one gift last year.
- 28% admitted to re-gifting at least one of their holiday gifts from last year.
And this pattern is costing us some serious money:
- 24% estimate the value of holiday gifts that were returned, re-gifted, or remain unused from last year to be between $51 and $100.
- 11% estimate that the value of holiday gifts that were returned, re-gifted, or remain unused from last year to be $100 or higher.
Make The Most Of A Gift
We can’t assume that every gift is unappreciated or regarded as unnecessary, but we do see the wisdom in gift cards. A striking 54% of survey respondents say that they would use a gift card to buy “life essentials” such as groceries, or pay their bills…and there is no better gift than being in the black. Gift cards come in all shapes and sizes, from retailer-specific cards to branded general-purpose cards from companies like Visa. But remember: If you receive a gift card, use it! Whether adorned with snowmen or candy-cane stripes, a gift card is money.
Tell us in the comments: Would you appreciate getting a gift card, or do you prefer a more personalized gift?