Over £400 Million Has Gone To Waste on Unused Gift Cards Over The Past Two Years

New research by a digital gift card service has discovered that over the past two years a third of Britons have received one or more gift cards that they’ve not ended up using, whether they’ve forgotten, it’s got lost amongst other cards or it’s expired without warning. According to the poll, the average amount of money that’s gone unused on gift cards per person was £25, equating to a waste of over £407,272,784 during the past two years.

Research has revealed that whilst the majority of Britons either haven’t received a gift card or have been sure to use it, 32% of Britons have received gift cards that they’ve not gotten around to using, equating to over £400m going to waste.

The survey was conducted by Giftcloud (www.giftcloud.com), a digital gift card service which allows the British public to buy and send digital gift cards instantly via text and email for the first time in the UK. 2,196 Britons aged 18 and over were quizzed about the gifts that they receive from others, with a specific focus on gift cards.

Initially, all respondents were asked ‘Have you received any gift cards over the past two years that you haven’t used?’ to which 32% of respondents admitted that ‘yes’, they had wasted gift cards. When asked how much had gone unused on one or more received gift cards, the average response was £25.

With the Office of National Statistics highlighting that there were 50,909,098 people within the UK aged between 18 and 90 years old in 2014, and the results showing that a third of Britons, 32%, had received gift cards that they hadn’t gone on to use to the average value of £25, it’s been revealed that £407,272,784 has gone to waste over the past two years on gift cards alone.

All relevant respondents were then asked to reveal why their gift cards had gone unused. When provided with a list of possible responses and told to select all that applied, the top five results were as follows;

1.      It got lost in my purse/wallet amongst my other cards – 35%
2.      I misplaced it and couldn’t find it when I wanted to use it – 32%
3.      It had expired by the time I wanted or needed to use it – 24%
4.      I accidentally threw it away with the envelope – 17%
5.      It was for a store I don’t shop with – 9%

Furthermore, respondents who stated their gift card had expired before they had managed to use it were asked how long it had taken them to realise it had expired. The average answer given was 4 months after the expiry, although one respondent confessed that they had not realised it was out of date until five years later.

According to the poll, of the respondents who had used their gift cards, 58% used them within the first month of receiving the gift.

Greg LeTocq, the founder of Giftcloud, commented:

“£400 million is incredible amount of money to go to waste! Physical gift cards are small and can be easily lost, that is understandable, and many don’t offer reminders or an easy way to check the balance. Many stores know all too well that physical gift cards often end up going unused – meaning they benefit from the cash at the time without having to give anything in return; they are clearly making a lot of money from it! The physical gift card industry has no excuses for being stuck in the old age; technology has advanced so much and made life so much more convenient for shoppers, so the service should really be much better. For a start, there should be regular reminders as a minimum, so that people don’t end up losing so much without realising it. Many people consider a gift card a safe option; but clearly it can be very risky!”

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