We’re receiving unfortunate news that many iconic stores and businesses are either going out of business or facing financial restructuring with bankruptcy. Locally Two Jay’s recently filed for bankruptcy, and on Worth Avenue both Neiman Marcus and Brooks Brothers have closed up shop. If you have any unused gift cards, you might want to use them now!
“Consumers lose $3 billion a year in unspent gift cards” from CNBC.
Americans love gift cards. And the U.S. is the world’s biggest market — by a long shot. The plastic cash substitute has been the most popular holiday item on shoppers’ lists for 13 years in a row. In 2019 alone, U.S. consumers loaded up on gift cards to the tune of about $98 billion — a 90% increase from 2005. But a lot of that money is winding up at the bottom of dresser drawers and forgotten in wallets. Gift Cards are usually spent within the first year from the date of purchase. But if you’re one of those who has sat on a gift card for longer than 12 months, you’re not alone. About 2% to 4% of gift card money goes unused every year. That adds up to between $2 billion and $4 billion — just in the U.S., according to Mercator Advisory Group.
″That’s a lot of money,” said Erin Wood, chair of the Retail Gift Card Association. “And so across America, at any given time, there could be unclaimed, unused balances on gift cards that equate into the billions of dollars.”