I’m in danger of sounding ungrateful here, but I hate receiving gift cards and gift vouchers.
Long gone are the days when I received a sack full of presents for Christmas and birthday.
Admittedly I’m a nightmare to buy for, probably to the frustration of those around me, but if anyone ever asks me what I might want as a gift, 99% of the time I’ll say money. So imagine my disappointment when I open up a card and find a gift card or voucher. Wait a minute this isn’t what I asked for.
unfortunately, no matter what the occasion it seems that we love to give a gift card and the trend doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon. In fact a survey of 2000 people conducted by the UK gift card and voucher association, in 2017, it found that 73.2% of consumers purchased a gift card in the past three years.
So why do we continue to give gift cards and vouchers?
The most obvious reason for giving a gift card is that you know that the money is going to be spent on something worthwhile that the recipient might like and it isn’t going to be “wasted”. I’m nearly 40 and my mum still asks me what I’ve spent the money that she gives me on. In some cases she will even tell me what she doesn’t want me to spend it on.
There might also be some psychological aspects at play here too. I’m sure that those who buy gift cards believe that they are putting a little more thought into the process of giving a gift card or voucher and not just giving money. The purchaser has given some thought about what the recipient actually likes. So it makes sense that if they like clothes they are going to buy a card or voucher from a fashion outlet and if they like computer games a retailer that sells games makes sense.
With the advent of e-vouchers convenience also plays a large part in the decision process as the likelihood of it getting lost in the post is decreased.
Why don’t I like gift cards?
The restriction of choice.
In receiving a voucher for a certain store I know that I have to shop at that retailer regardless of whether there is anything that I want.
I would like to think that I’m a savvy shopper and before I buy anything I’ll research it and research it again to first decide whether I’m going to get any use out of it and secondly, I like to make sure that I find the cheapest deal available.
I know that there are now multi retailer cards that allow you to use the card in any number of shops so if I were to get a card I’d prefer it to be one of them.
These include the One4all gift card and Highstreetvouchers.com. Highstreetvouchers.com is actually apart of the Park Group that offers a Christmas savings club, which I’m not a fan of, but I’ll leave that for another post.
The stores just love a gift card
It will come as no surprise that the stores love a gift card and why wouldn’t they.
Store cards offer a retailer a win win situation.
- They have already made a sale regardless of whether the card is redeemed
- There is the potential to introduce new customers to their brand
In fact retailers actually benefit to the tune of £6 million a week in unused gift cards, so it’s easy to see why they will continue to offer gift cards.
What can we do with unwanted gift cards?
All is not lost though a number of opportunities to actually benefit from receiving a gift card that you might not want are available.
- Re-gift, this is a great way to save some money and so give it to someone that might actually use it. Be aware of the expiry date though, I’m sure that there is nothing more embarrassing than going into a store and trying to spend an expired gift card
- Swap them for cash with friends and family that might use them
- Sell them on a gift card reselling website such as Zeek
So are you a fan of gift cards?
Whether you’re a fan or not of gift cards I’d be interested to hear your reasons why in the comments below.