According to the National Retail Federation, nearly 59 percent of consumers are hoping to receive a gift card this holiday season. Holiday shoppers are expected to spend an average of $805 on gift cards this year.
CardHub compiled a list of the top 50 most popular gift cards and how that popularity has changed from 2014 to 2015.
The top four cards are general in nature, like Visa, Amazon, Apple iTunes and American Express. Wal-Mart is the fifth most-popular gift card. The first apparel card to appear on the list is Macy’s at number 14, down two spots from last year. Sephora’s gift-card rank also dropped two levels to number 16.
Etsy, the online Web site for crafters and makers, is running up the charts, as it has climbed six levels and is now ranked as the 21st most-popular gift card. Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with WalletHub, said, “What’s interesting about Etsy is that it’s online-only. So you’re not buying a physical card, you’re sending it to someone’s inbox.” Gonzalez also pointed out that Etsy notifies the giver when the card is spent. “In the back of people’s minds they hope that people will like the card. That it was appreciated and used,” said Gonzalez.
Retailers that have fallen out of favor include Nordstrom, Forever 21, REI, Victoria’s Secret, Old Navy and QVC. Retailers that are becoming more valued by gift-givers include H&M, TJ Maxx and Sears. TJ Maxx had the biggest growth in ranking out of the entire list of 50 names. It jumped up 14 spots to become the 40th most-popular gift card.
“We’re seeing a trend in fast fashion and discounters becoming more popular for cards, but not so much with luxury,” said Gonzalez. Givers want the recipients to be able to buy more with the card they’ve been given.
Food gift cards are bearing out the trend to experiential shopping with McDonald’s cards moving up 10 levels and Chick-fil-A jumping 12 levels. Even Chipotle with all its health problems saw its rank climb; however, the data are for the year and the health problems only started last month.
CardHub also calculated a gift card’s resale value. Unused gift cards can be sold to various Web sites online such as thegiftcardgiant.com or giftcardgranny.com. So, for example, a Macy’s $50 card could be sold for $40. Nordstrom has a 91 percent resale value, while H&M only has a 74 percent resale value.
Gonzalez pointed out that part of the resale value is determined by supply and demand. Fewer Nordstrom cards means that the resale amount is higher. It also means that a Nordstrom gift card is highly appreciated and gets spent, not resold.