When Even A Gift Card Doesn’t Fit, Take It To A Gift Card Exchange

Even though gift cards are a favorite solution for holiday gift-giving, it appears more than half (51%) of consumers don’t even use the gift cards they receive, according to Blackhawk Network.

The rationale for the lack of gift card usage is fairly simple: 79% of these shoppers say they either forgot about them or received cards for a retailer they don’t often frequent.

With so many consumers opting not to use their cards, it would make more sense for them to use a gift card exchange to get maximum value of them. As of now, the gift card exchange concept is still maturing — only 38% of consumers are aware that gift card exchanges exist — but spreading awareness of them could lead to more consumers adopting the model.


Upon learning more about gift card exchanges, 55% of shoppers say they would use a gift card exchange site to buy or sell gift cards, and 78% say they would buy discounted gift cards for self-use.

These consumers would also be open to using these exchanges for another compelling reason: saving money. Of the consumers who actively engage in deal-finding behaviors such as clipping coupons, seeking out sales and submitting rebates:

  • 65% would consider using a gift card exchange to buy gift cards at a discount before a major shopping occasion;

  • 68% would use gift card exchanges as a cost-savings method to purchase gift cards for their own use at favorite stores, restaurants, etc.; and

  • 66% would add selling and buying gift cards from exchange sites to their regular deal-finding behaviors.

With digital and in-store gift card exchanges serving important purposes to such a large portion of consumers, these companies could do a better job promoting themselves. Seeing that more than 60% of consumers still don’t know about the exchanges’ practicality, there is a tremendous opportunity here to get the word out, either through more advertising (particularly around the holiday season), and by extending their offerings to more retail stores.

Considering that 91% of shoppers would prefer to use an exchange instead of well-known services such as Craigslist to buy and sell gift cards, these exchanges are likely to continue growing in retail.

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