A new survey by Consumer Reports reveals the number of people receiving cards as gifts dropped 14 per cent from 2007 to 2010.
Perhaps it’s because at least a quarter of American adults still haven’t used at least one of their gift cards from last holiday season, and more than half already have multiple cards in the back of their dresser drawer that are gathering dust.
When Consumer Reports asked why, 37 per cent said they hadn’t found anything they’d wanted to buy, 36 per cent didn’t have time to go shopping, and 34 per cent had forgotten about the card(s).
“Gift cards are something of a double-edged sword,” says Consumer Reports’ retail expert Tod Marks. “People love them, but often the cards end up collecting dust in a drawer. Our study also shows that two-thirds of people who get a card end up spending more than the card’s face value, so in effect they’re paying for their own present.”
In another sign those gift cards might not be worth it, a study cited by Time’s Moneyland found that people using gift cards were 2.5 times more likely to pay full price for a product compared to shoppers making the same purchase with plain old cash.
Still, giving a gift card makes sense to consumers who don’t have the faintest clue about what to buy for someone or give them they actually want. It’s no wonder so many people receive gift cards they never will use.
Skip the card. Here are 10 smarter things you can do with a buck >