Retail stores jumped the gun by kicking off print ad promotions in mid October in hopes of increasing holiday sales over last year. But even with all that early hype, sales have been less than stellar and lower than expected. With more places for consumers to spend their money, fewer shoppers are hitting the mall resulting in a drop in retail stores sales. Many busy Americans are opting to shop online with gift cards gaining momentum with sales expected to reach $100 billion in 2012.
Millions of people are enjoying the convenience that comes with shopping online. The National Retail Federation reports that gift cards have remained one of the most requested gift ideas for the last five consecutive years. Analysis by Tower Group, a leading research and advisory services firm, reported gift cards topping $101 billion in 2011 and predictions of $130 billion by 2014 and $200 billion by 2021, fueled by significant growth in e-gift card sales.
Gift cards can be used for purchases at the mall or online and making them a great gift for every person on your list. Use any of these four options to give the gift they really want.
- Prepaid Bank Credit Cards – The major credit card processors, Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express, offer any dollar denomination from $20. A prepaid card is one of the most popular ways for people to spend money everywhere.
- Retail Gift Cards – Buy a no-fee gift card directly from the merchant. For a fee, kiosks at grocery and drug stores and other retail outlets offer a large variety of retail cards.
- Virtual Cards – Online gift cards will be e-mailed to your gift recipients within minutes. American Express offers e-Gift cards for up to $100. Retail e-gift cards can be easily and conveniently be ordered at Giftzip.
- Business and Logo Cards – Reward your employees and customers with a logo-branded gift credit card.
Enjoy one-stop shopping at your favorite retailer or bank. Use your mobile phone to send an email that includes a virtual gift card. Send gift cards by posting to your friends’ Facebook walls. Give unique gift cards for things like restaurants, gasoline, groceries, music and digital media.
When looking to get the biggest bang for your buck, search for promotions offering fee-free cards or bonuses. Holiday deals often include an additional percentage bonus. Also, look for cards that have no expiration date. Not only can consumers buy and have an e-gift card sent instantly from a Web browser or mobile phone, but they can personalize the message with photos and video, creating an individualized gifting experience.
Advantage of Giving and Getting Credit Card Gifts
Bank issued credit cards can’t be beat for flexibility and convenience. Whether you choose a traditional card or a virtual card, it can be redeemed anywhere the brand, American Express, MasterCard, Visa or Discover, is accepted. Wait for the item you want to buy to go on sale and see your credit card gift go further. Many are reloadable, giving you the option to add funds to the card for further secure shopping. Check the current balance by calling the number found on the back of the card or online.
About the Author: A staff writer at ASAPCreditCard.com, Noreen Ruth is a regular contributor to a wide variety of financial-related blogs and websites. She specializes in credit and debt-related issues, and provides useful information to help consumers choose the right credit cards and make prudent financial decisions. Follow her regular posts on the ASAP Credit Card Blog to stay up-to-date with the latest credit card news, reviews, information and more