Americans have let their unspent gift cards accumulate into billions of dollars going to waste.
- A new study from Credit Suisse says that Americans have accumulated $21 billion worth of unspent gift cards.
- At least two-thirds of Americans have at least one gift card worth less than $200 in their possession.
- A similar study from CreditCards.com confirmed CreditSuisse’s December survey, showing that millennials have an average of $226 in credit, Gen Xers have $180, Gen Zers have $149, and boomers have $133.
- 45% of survey respondents say they plan to spend their unused gift cards within 12 months.
Why It’s News
Gift cards are one of the largest businesses in the U.S., particularly around holidays like Christmas and birthdays, where they are a popular present. According to a report from GreyViews, the U.S. gift-card market was worth $622.6 billion in 2022 and could exceed $2 trillion by 2030.
Credit Suisse performed a December 2022 poll of 1,200 people over the age of 16 and earning between $25,000 to $150,000 yearly.
Americans are not obligated to spend their unused cards, with many of them being from stores that the individuals aren’t interested in visiting. With inflation threatening to devalue the credit on those gift cards and the majority of cards having a five-year expiration date, there is still value to be found in selling those credits in online exchanges or using them—particularly as the economy tightens in the coming year.
“Gift cards are extremely popular, and almost everyone enjoys getting them. But many people leave them sitting in a drawer to redeem on a special occasion. Use them, don’t save them. If someone has given you a gift card, they want you to spend the money,” Credit Suisse editor Rebecca Stumpf tells CNN Business.
“Regifting gift cards is a great way to also stretch your budget since you don’t have to spend money on a gift for an upcoming celebration,” money-saving expert Andrea Woroch tells CreditCards.com.