This year however, my relatives, like many others, avoided the gift card trend, and went with either actual presents, or cash. There is a fear going around that many business will be declaring bankruptcy in the upcoming months, which may affect the ability to redeem gift cards. I received several forwarded e-mails with dire warnings about future store closings. With all of the pre-holiday sales, there was also a potential to get more for your money.
According to a recent article from the Associated Press, lower gift card sales could affect the stores sales throughout the year.
Consumers figured out that for the $100 they would ordinarily spend, they
could get far more merchandise than before. Or get something far more expensive
that had been deeply discounted. And for those really watching their spending,
they could give a $100 gift marked down to $25 and pocket the savings.
That behavior could be bad news for retailers well into the new year,
since they don't record gift cards as sales until they are actually redeemed.
Fewer people redeeming the cards could also hurt future sales, since people
usually spend more than the gift card total.
I am glad that I didn't receive any gift cards this year because, I often either don't spend the gift card at all and forget about it, or I spend significantly more than the gift card, on items that I might not have purchased anyway. I can better brave the holiday sales, without the incentive to spend a gift card. My Christmas money can instead go towards paying back purchases that I have already made. When someone comes up with a "Credit Card Payment gift card," let me know. I'm in.