Supply chain slowdowns could make it a big year for gift cards

Meghan McCarty Carino Nov 25, 2021
Heard on:
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Once considered thoughtless and impersonal, gift cards have become increasingly popular and are expected to be a big seller this year. Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Supply chain slowdowns could make it a big year for gift cards

Meghan McCarty Carino Nov 25, 2021
Heard on:
Once considered thoughtless and impersonal, gift cards have become increasingly popular and are expected to be a big seller this year. Joe Raedle via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Supply chain slowdowns could make some popular holiday gift items hard to get this season, meaning it could be a big year for gift cards. A survey by Blackhawk Network found shoppers were planning to spend 27% more on gift cards this year.

Once considered an impersonal and thoughtless present of last resort, gift cards have become not just acceptable but popular — especially among young people — said business professor Dan Horne at Providence College.

Gift cards can be bought and sent online, super niche — say from the local artisan cheese shop — or super broad from an e-commerce giant that sells everything. Or they can be bought from a vendor that doesn’t sell things at all.

“There’s a preference for experiences that they can remember,” Horne said. “You know, a dinner or travel or something like that.”

Retailers love gift cards because they can bring in new customers and lock in future sales. Consumers usually spend 40% more than what’s on the gift card, according to Theresa McEndree with Blackhawk Network, which issues gift cards.

“You’re going to splurge a little bit,” she said. “You’re going to buy something that maybe you wouldn’t normally treat yourself with.” Ideally at a future nonholiday date, when everybody else isn’t trying to buy the same thing.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.