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On the surface, it’s easy to imagine why people love gift cards. For people receiving gift cards, the gift is a blank slate so-to-speak. That gift card can be turned into a wide range of things. When someone gives you a gift card they have essentially given you a license to buy something you really want – whatever that may be. For the people giving gift cards, the time and effort saved on shopping around is worth every penny they spend. This is especially true for those that are buying a gift for someone outside of their immediate family. Rather than buying a gift that the person may not enjoy, or already own, they have purchased something that the recipient can make good use of. It’s a win/win for everyone!

With gift card spending growing to over $100 billion and expected to top $120 billion by the end of 2017, Blackhawk Network wanted to survey people and find out what exactly makes people love gift cards so much. The results provide a closer look into the thought patterns and habits of those that give and receive gift cards.

Gift Cards Are Incredibly Popular

In case the $100+ billion in gift card sales didn’t tip you off to this fact, there are some other stats discovered from the survey. Blackhawk Network found that 63% of people surveyed had purchased a gift card within the past 12 months. In addition, 94% of respondents said they plan to buy a gift card within the next 12 months. There is a huge market for gift cards from all brands and in all denominations. Whether you sell gift cards or enjoy receiving them, that’s big news.

Respondents also noted that, as well as giving gift cards, they often received them as well. 96% of people asked had said they received a gift card in the past year with the average person getting 4.2 gift cards over that time. A lot of people enjoy getting a gift card as it gives them an opportunity to shop for themselves. Is there any better feeling than walking into a store or logging onto your favorite online retailer with a gift card in hand, knowing that what you buy is already paid for by someone else?

Convenience Is King

Did you know that a person spends an average of 14 hours shopping for a gift for someone else? That’s a staggering amount of time to spend on shopping for a gift that the other person may not even like. Forget about the time, what about the stress? There’s searching through flyers for a great deal, reading online reviews, asking friends or family for advice, talking to sales people, driving from store to store, standing in line… Just reading that sentence probably made your blood pressure jump. Why do people spend time and put themselves through that stress when a gift card is fast, simple, and a gift that can surely be used for something the recipient will love?

Buying a Gift

Considering all of that, it’s no surprise that a third of all people surveyed said the convenience of gift cards is the most appealing factor for them. The process of giving a gift card is so easy! Find a gift card for a store or restaurant that appeals to the recipient, write a heartfelt message, and save countless hours running around and stressing out. It’s no wonder gift cards are so popular!

Gift Cards Stay on Budget

The following scenario has likely happened to almost everyone who has ever had to buy a gift. You search and search for the perfect item (see the stressful timeline of events above again if you need to), then when you finally find the right item, you discover it is over your budget. There are now two options: go back to the drawing board and begin the search again, or; buy the gift and accept the newly increased budget. One option costs extra time, one costs extra money. Neither option is ideal. With gift cards, the budget is set and adhered to with complete ease. And, as the old saying goes, “Time is money.” The time saved on shopping for the “perfect” gift might be the biggest savings of all.

People love being in control, especially when money is involved. Gift cards allow a buyer to set a budget and stick to it. With over 20% of people saying budget is their number one reason for buying gift cards, it’s easy to see the appeal when the time comes to buy a gift.

People Actually Want Gift Cards

People often fall into the trap of worrying about what people will think if they get a gift card. That line of thinking needs to stop now! The fact is that people actually want to receive gift cards and the numbers prove it. Nearly 40% of people say, a gift card is at the top of their wish list. Think about that for a moment. All of those people have put gift cards at the number one spot on their wish list and that percentage doesn’t even account for those that may have gift cards ranked as number two or three.

That’s absolutely huge considering that gift cards are competing with literally every single other gift under the sun. With all the latest gadgets, fashion trends, and toys there is still a huge number of people who want a gift card more than anything else. Not to mention, a gift card can get them anything else they may have on their list.

People are drawn to the flexibility and practicality of gift cards. With a gift card, someone can treat themselves or simply take care of some regular expenses – it’s up to them and they love having the power in their hands! With a gift card you give them that power and let them do what they really want.

Gift Cards Can Be Meaningful

In keeping with the discussion above; some people feel that gift cards may not be meaningful enough. However, when asked what appeals to them about gift cards, one of the top answers from people surveyed said that gift cards are meaningful gifts. This is likely because gift cards have the power to turn into any gift that the recipient will love. When a person spends their gift card, the little piece of plastic has magically transformed into something they may cherish for the rest of their life. No one can know what gift someone wants more than the actual person receiving the gift. When you give a gift card, you are allowing someone to treat themselves which is, ultimately, the best gift of all.

Skip the Return Line, Skip the Stress

Blackhawk Network’s survey found that a third of all gift cards were bought to be a gift as opposed to a thank you or promotion incentive. Birthdays and winter holidays topped the list for most popular gift giving occasions. One of the best things about giving a gift card is that, more often than not, they get used. Traditional gifts on the other hand – not so much. Nearly $50 billion worth of gifts are returned every single year. Remember above when it was mentioned that people spend an average of 14 hours shopping for a gift? Now add on the time it takes for someone to return a gift and shop again for a new one with their credit. Why do we continue to go through all of this wasted time when a gift card skips the needless shopping as well as the long, stressful return lines? In addition, a gift card can be used the day after being received, a month later, or even several months later. A traditional gift has a return window set by the store policies and if the recipient of that gift forgets to return the item, or loses the receipt, then they’re stuck with a gift they don’t want. Do you notice the theme of convenience and flexibility running throughout this blog?

Gift Cards Are Staying Modern

In the age of online shopping, gift cards are more relevant than ever. The largest online retailers including Amazon, Apple, Google Play, and eBay all offer digital gift cards that can be spent online. Plus, many of people’s favorite brick and mortar stores have online storefronts that accept gift cards. A Best Buy gift card, for example, gives the gift recipient the option to visit their local store and browse the latest cool gadgets; or, they can skip the drive and hop on their laptop or mobile device to shop right away. When you give a gift card you are allowing the recipient to shop the way they want to shop and to buy the gift they want to buy. Gift cards continue to offer unbeatable flexibility and convenience, even with modern shopping practices. It’s no wonder gift card sales continue to rapidly grow every single year.

Worst Case Scenario

As discussed above; the worst case scenario when you purchase a traditional gift is that the recipient wants to return it. Then they’re forced to jump through hoops and follow specific store return policies. If they miss the return window or lose the receipt they’re stuck with the gift they don’t want.

If that sounds like a massive headache, it’s because it is a massive headache. Not exactly what you had in mind for your friend or loved one when you were out shopping for them. On the other hand, what is the worst case scenario with giving a gift card? First, we know that many people rank gift cards as their number one most wanted item. That’s a good start. What if they don’t like the store, retailer, or restaurant the gift card is for? Then they can simply visit a site like EJ Gift Cards that allows people to sell gift cards and turn that gift card into cash!

That’s right, the absolute worst case scenario when giving a gift card is that the recipient ends up with cash in their PayPal account. Not too many people will complain about that.

Take the Plunge, Give That Gift Card

The popularity of gift cards is clear and is growing every single year. With the most popular retailers, both online and offline, offering gift cards; the selection is endless! There’s truly something for everyone from the tech savvy, to the fashionista, to the foodie, and everyone in between. Where else can you shop for all of those unique people in one place?

Since so many people choose to sell gift cards on online gift card buying websites and marketplaces, you’re sure to find a gift that someone will love. Best of all, you can save money and stay on budget! Forget about shopping for hours and hours, standing in line after line, and worrying about getting the right gift. You can now find your ideal gift card for that someone special with few simply clicks. Shopping for the right gift has never been so easy.

If you have unused gift cards sitting at home, you can turn them into cash using EJ Gift Cards! To sell gift cards simply click the link above to see which cards are accepted. There are hundreds of the most popular stores, restaurants, and e-commerce sites all listed for you to see. Then log in and submit your information. An offer will be sent to you and, if you accept, you can have cash deposited directly to your PayPal account. There’s no pressure to accept an offer and finding out how much you can get if you choose to sell gift cards is totally free. If you do accept, you can then use that money for anything you can imagine. How awesome is that?

Whether you’re shopping for a gift or looking to make money with the unused gift cards around your home, EJ Gift Cards is ready to help!