gift cards

A gift card is a restricted monetary equivalent or scrip that is issued by retailers or banks to be used as an alternative to a non-monetary gift. Highly popular, they rank as the second-most given gift by consumers in the United States (2006) and the most-wanted gift by women, and the third-most wanted by males. Gift cards have become increasingly popular as they relieve the donor of selecting a specific gift. In 2012, nearly 50% of all US consumers claimed to have purchased a gift card as a present during the holiday season. In Canada, $1.8 billion were spent on gift cards and in the UK, it is estimated to reach 3 billion (GBP) for 2009 whereas in the United States, about $80 billion were paid for gift cards in 2006. The recipient of the gift card can use it at his or her discretion within the restrictions set by the issuing agency.