Gift Cards: A Gift for the Supply Chain

Gift cards, once seen as thoughtless or lazy, are turning a corner as more people are feeling the consequences of the supply chain disruption. From shipping container delays to manufacturing roadblocks and lack of materials causing production delays, gift cards alleviate one big question consumers have become accustomed to asking: Will my purchase arrive in time for the holidays?  

Retailers love gift cards because the plastic prolongs the holiday shopping past the slow, post-holiday months in January and February, and consumers usually spend about 40% more than the gift card value while shopping. 

For example, Starbucks is the leader of the gift card universe and was responsible for 11.7% of all gift cards sold in the US in September and October 2021. Starbucks anticipates $3 billion will be added to the company’s gift cards for the 2022 holiday season.

2021 marked the first year since 2012 that consumers spent less on Black Friday sales online, according to Adobe. So is the tide turning in favor of gift card giving this upcoming peak season? It depends on your age.

One of every two Millennials are likely to leave their gift cards unused, whereas Gen-Z is least likely to do so. More than 50% of Gen-Z consumers buy physical gift cards every three months, according to Blackhawk.

If you receive a gift card this upcoming holiday season, here are four tips for optimizing your present:

  • Prioritize your gift card by placing it in an easily accessible part of your wallet
  • When spending the card, use the entire amount. This may lead to spending more, but this will eliminate another thing to remember to use later
  • If applicable, upload the card to an online account. This applies to digital wallets!
  • Don’t want the gift card? Donate, regift your card, or look for sites to exchange your gift for cash